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  /  Dental Surgery   /  Easing the Pain: Essential Tips for Recovering from Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery
wisdom teeth removal

If you’re about to have wisdom tooth removal surgery and want to know how to ease pain and recover smoothly, you’re in the right place. This article offers crucial tips to make your recovery from wisdom tooth extraction more comfortable. Whether you have impacted wisdom teeth or your dentist recommended removal, this guidance will help you navigate the healing process with confidence. By following these tips, you can reduce swelling, prevent infections, and promote a quicker, more comfortable recovery. Don’t let fear hold you back from essential dental care – keep reading to learn the key tips for your wisdom tooth removal recovery.

Why is wisdom tooth removal necessary?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, typically emerge between ages 17 to 25 but often become impacted, leading to problems like pain and infection. Dentists may recommend their removal, a common procedure to prevent oral health issues and relieve discomfort. The surgery involves anesthesia, incisions, tooth removal, and sutures. Recovery times vary but usually take a week to ten days with proper care.

What to expect after surgery?

Immediately after the surgery, bleeding from the extraction site is normal and can be controlled by biting on gauze provided by your dentist. Changing the gauze regularly is important to maintain cleanliness and reduce infection risks. Swelling is a common side effect, peaking within the first two to three days and gradually subsiding.  Applying an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for 15-20 minutes at a time can help with the swelling. Pain and discomfort are expected, and your dentist will provide pain medication recommendations. Bruising of the cheeks and jaw muscles may also occur but typically resolves within a few days; consult your dentist if it persists or worsens.

Essential tips for a smooth recovery

Here are key tips for a smooth recovery from wisdom tooth extraction:
  1. Follow your dentist’s post-op instructions, including dietary restrictions, medication, and oral hygiene.
  2. Avoid strenuous activities for a week to prevent bleeding and delayed healing.
  3. Keep your head elevated when resting to reduce swelling and aid blood circulation.
  4. Use warm compresses after the first day to soothe swelling and promote healing.
  5. Stay hydrated by sipping directly from a cup; avoid straws to protect healing.
  6. Stick to a soft diet, like mashed potatoes and yogurt, avoiding hard or chewy foods.
  7. Skip smoking and alcohol, as they can hinder healing and cause complications.
  8. Carefully maintain oral hygiene, using your dentist’s recommended saline solution or mouthwash.
  9. Prioritize rest to avoid fatigue, promote recovery, and reduce the risk of infections.

Foods and drinks to avoid

To ensure a smooth recovery, it’s crucial to avoid certain foods and drinks that could irritate the surgical site or dislodge the blood clot. Here are items to stay away from during the healing period:
  1. Crunchy or hard foods: Avoid nuts, chips, popcorn, and crackers, as they can be abrasive and become stuck in the extraction site, causing discomfort or infection.
  2. Spicy or acidic foods: Spices and acidic foods can irritate the surgical site and lead to discomfort. Skip hot sauces, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar-based dressings during your recovery.
  3. Carbonated and caffeinated beverages: Soda and coffee, which are carbonated and caffeinated, may impede the healing process and increase the risk of dry socket. Opt for water, herbal teas, or non-acidic fruit juices instead.
  4. Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol can slow down healing and interact with pain medications. It’s best to completely avoid alcohol during your recovery.

Pain management

Pain and discomfort are common after wisdom tooth removal surgery. Your dentist will provide pain medications or suggest over-the-counter pain relievers to manage this discomfort. Follow the prescribed dosage and avoid medications that may interact with your current medications or conditions. Additionally, you can alleviate pain and promote healing by:
  1. Applying ice packs: In the first 24 hours, using ice packs can reduce swelling and numb the area for pain relief.
  2. Using pain-relieving gels or mouth rinses: Your dentist may recommend products containing benzocaine to temporarily numb the surgical site and ease pain.
  3. Practicing relaxation techniques: Stress can worsen pain. Engage in deep breathing, meditation, or soothing music to relieve pain and improve your well-being.
  4. Distraction techniques: Keep your mind occupied with activities like watching a movie or reading to divert attention from discomfort. If pain persists or worsens, consult your dentist for further evaluation.

When to seek medical attention

Mild discomfort and pain are common after wisdom tooth removal, but certain symptoms may indicate complications or infections requiring immediate medical attention:
  1. Severe or worsening pain: If pain intensifies despite pain medications, it could signal issues like dry socket or infection.
  2. Excessive bleeding: While some bleeding is normal, persistent or heavy bleeding requires prompt dental care.
  3. Prolonged swelling or bruising: Expect some swelling and bruising, but consult your dentist if they persist or worsen.
  4. Fever or chills: These may be signs of an infection, warranting quick medical attention.
  5. Difficulty swallowing or breathing: If breathing or swallowing becomes difficult, it could indicate swelling or an allergic reaction, requiring immediate care. Always seek professional advice if you have concerns during your recovery. Your well-being is paramount.


Recovering from wisdom tooth removal surgery can be less painful and easier than you might think. Just follow the tips in this article for a smoother recovery, which include managing pain and keeping your mouth clean. Everyone’s recovery is different, so consulting your dentist for personalized advice is essential. With patience, rest, and good care, you’ll be on the road to a faster, more comfortable recovery from wisdom tooth removal surgery, making your oral health and overall well-being a priority. Call Mount Pleasant Dental Group at (604) 559-9955.
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