Most patients recover from wisdom tooth removal in just a few days, but complete healing of the gums can take three to four weeks.
However, the way you care for yourself after having your wisdom teeth removed can make a big difference in the length of your recovery. If you want to heal quickly — and who doesn’t? — you need to follow a few simple rules.
Avoid Chewing After Your Wisdom Tooth Removal
After your wisdom tooth extraction, you must be careful about what you eat.
Immediately after the procedure and for the first few days, you’ll need to stick with a soft food diet. Your mouth and gums can be damaged by foods that aren’t soft. If you try to eat anything crunchy, chewy or sticky, you may end up with pain and swelling in and around the extraction site.
To avoid irritating this sensitive area and causing damage, also avoid acidic or spicy foods and beverages.
So, what can you eat after getting your wisdom teeth removed? We provide patients with detailed information about a soft diet, but yogurt, smoothies, applesauce, gelatin, scrambled eggs and soup are all nutritious options that keep you full.
No Suction after Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom tooth extraction can be a stressful and uncomfortable procedure.
If you’re a smoker, you’ll probably feel like lighting up once you get home. You might also be tempted to sip cool beverages through a straw, so that you don’t have to open your jaw as widely as you would to drink from a cup or glass.
Unfortunately, both of these actions can hinder your healing after tooth extraction. Sucking on a cigarette or straw creates negative pressure in the mouth. This can dislodge the blood clot that forms at the extraction site (and that is keeping it sealed), a condition known as dry socket.
With dry socket, the bone and nerves are left exposed. As a result, you may suffer pain around the extraction site as well as other potential complications. This pain can be severe, radiating through your face and neck. Healing from dry socket can take anywhere from a week to 10 days.
Avoid Strenuous Activity after Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Physical activity can interfere with how your gums heal after a wisdom tooth extraction. If you exert yourself too soon, even mildly, your blood clots may not form properly. Exerting yourself physically can also cause bleeding and pain at the extraction site.
For at least the first 48 hours, you’ll need to rest and take it easy. No bending or heavy lifting, and you’re off the hook for housework. You’ll especially need to take a break from exercise and sports.
After a couple of days of rest (or whatever the surgeon may recommend), you can return to your regular activities. But do so gradually, as your gums will continue the healing process for a few more weeks.
The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah provides specific instructions for making your recovery period as comfortable and short as possible. Contact one of our northern Utah offices — in Tooele, Cottonwood Heights and South Jordan — to schedule your consultation for wisdom tooth removal.