Aftercare for wisdom teeth removal

dentist

Wisdom teeth removal is a phrase that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest dental patient. Whilst it is a comprehensive and serious surgical procedure, with the right aftercare you can help to minimize your risk of complications, reduce unnecessary pain and debilitation, and improve your recovery time.

The Surgery

Your wisdom tooth removal may be performed by an oral maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist and may need to take place at a hospital if you are at high risk of complications, or if you are having multiple wisdom teeth removed at once. The surgery itself is usually quite short and often performed under general anesthetic. This means that you won’t be awake for, or remember, any of the procedure.

The impacted teeth are removed via an incision into the gum, which is then sealed with sutures. Some sutures dissolve over time, while others may need to be removed once the gum is sufficiently healed.

Immediately after Surgery

Immediately after your surgery, you will have a gauze pad placed into your mouth over the wound. You will need to bite down periodically for at least half an hour, changing each pad as they become soaked with blood. You should also ensure that you aren’t laying horizontally as this will make the bleeding worse and put you at risk of choking. Instead, ensure your head is slightly elevated. Moderate bleeding is perfectly normal for the hours following surgery, although you should contact your dentist or oral surgeon if your mouth is still bleeding after 24 hours.

You should completely avoid vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the incision site with your tongue, as this could dislodge the blood clot that will form in the wound and restart the bleeding.

You will also be given some pain medication to help alleviate your discomfort. However, you can use ice packs on your cheeks to minimize swelling, which will, in turn, relieve some of the soreness.

The first 24 hours after surgery

Once you are allowed home after your wisdom teeth removal surgery, you will probably begin to notice much more swelling and even bruising. This can occur directly around the jaw, but also affect the cheeks, eyes, nose and sides of the face.

You will be able to take over the counter pain medications to help alleviate any discomfort that you may feel. This should subside a little more each day.

You will probably be consuming a liquid or soft diet for the majority of the time in the days after your procedure. However, do not use a straw as this can dislodge the blood cut that will have formed over the incision.

You will also be able to gently rinse your mouth was warm salt water. Again, this will help to reduce swelling and relieve pain. It will also minimize your risk of developing infections or other post-surgery complications.

No smoking! While smoking is bad for your general health, it is also bad news for a wisdom teeth removal operation. Not only can the sucking motion of drawing on a cigarette or vape dislodge the blood clot, but can also bring harmful toxins into your blood stream and delay the healing process.

When can I go back to my usual day to day activities?

Although it can take up a fortnight to return completely to normal, you may be able to return to work and mild to moderate physical exertion as little as three or four days after your procedure.


All dental procedures, including wisdom teeth removal, are unique to each patient. Therefore, listening to the specific aftercare advice given to you by your dentist or surgeon is essential. By following their instructions precisely, you can help to reduce your risk of developing complications and ensure a faster, healthier recovery.