Aftercare Instructions: Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth removal is by far the most common type of dental extraction performed today. The last teeth to erupt, our wisdom teeth don’t tend to come through until we are well into our late teens or even our early twenties. By this point, there is often not enough room left into our mouths for them to erupt completely, and this leads to a whole host of different problems. Some people might experience wisdom teeth that come through twisted or crooked, while others may find that their teeth become impacted and do not erupt at all. This can cause abscesses and infection to develop, alongside a great deal of pain. If you experience problems with your wisdom teeth, our dentist will almost certainly recommend extraction.

Woman shaking hands with her dentist

Recovery from a wisdom tooth extraction

It is important to understand that it can take several weeks to fully recover after a wisdom tooth extraction and during this time you may experience significant after-effects. As such, we strongly recommend that you try and take these two weeks off of work if you can so that you can concentrate on healing and recovering.

During your recovery period, you will probably experience any or all of the following:

- Swollen mouth and cheeks, lasting at least a few days.

- Mild visible bruising on the cheeks that could persist for up to a fortnight.

- A sore, stiff jaw that should wear off within 7-10 days.

- An unpleasant taste in your mouth.

- Varying degrees of pain, from mild discomfort to severe aching. You will be prescribed pain relief to help you manage.

In some cases, you may also find that you have tingling or numbness in your mouth, tongue or lips.

Aftercare instructions for a wisdom tooth extraction

Immediately after your surgery, you will have a gauze pad placed over the wound. This will need to be kept in place for at least half an hour, after which time it can be discarded. You will be given pain relief that you should take as directed. Don’t wait for the pain to start, instead stick the prescribed schedule.


Some bleeding is to be expected following your surgery, and your saliva may have a pink tinge for a few hours. If your bleeding becomes excessive you should rinse the excess away, then place a gauze pad over the wound and bite down for at least half an hour. Sit up straight and still. If the bleeding doesn’t diminish, contact our dentist for further advice.

Care at home

You will need to continue with your prescribed pain relief as instructed by our dentist. You may be moved onto over-the-counter pain relief such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Ice packs against your face may also help to alleviate swelling and discomfort.

Our dentist will advise you to avoid strenuous activity exercise for at least the first 5 days after your procedure. You will also need to avoid participating in contact sports for at least a fortnight.

Do not touch the wound area as this could increase the risk of infection. You should also avoid vigorous rinsing of your mouth as this could dislodge the blood clot that has formed over the wound and bleeding may recommence. However, you will still want to rinse your mouth gently so do so with a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of salt as this is a natural protection against infection.

You can brush your teeth the evening after your surgery but pay special care not to come into contact with the wound.

A soft food diet is recommended for all patients who have had a dental extraction. If you have had a general anesthetic, you may not be up to real food straight away and some patients still to drinking plenty of water. However, be sure not to use a straw as the pulling action could dislodge the blood clot that will be forming over the wound. Drink slowly from a glass instead. Once you are ready to move onto food, start out with softer foods and soups, and after a few days you may feel ready to chew – just make sure you do so away from the surgical site. Most patients return to eating fairly normally 7-10 days after their wisdom tooth extraction. To schedule an appointment, contact us and our knowledgeable dental team will be happy to assist you.