Wisdom Teeth Removal

Also called the third molars, Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop.  If the jaw is large enough, they may emerge from the gum line; however, it’s common there is not enough room and become impacted when they emerge.  When impacted, wisdom teeth may need to be removed.  This is due to being difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections and even gum disease.  According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), it’s suggested to have wisdom teeth removed when the patient is a young adult.  This prevents any potential future problems with their oral health and ensures optimal healing.

What to Expect After a Procedure

After having your wisdom teeth removed and as you being to heal, follow your surgeon’s instructions on:


Some blood may ooze at the surgical site on the first day after wisdom tooth removal. It’s best to avoid excessive spitting to prevent dislodging the blood clot from the socket. Your surgeon will instruct you on how and how often to replace the gauze over the extraction site.

Pain Management

Depending on your procedure and pain tolerance, over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be suitable to manage pain.  Prescription pain medication may also be prescribed by your oral surgeon.  Prescription pain medication can be helpful if any bone was removed around your wisdom teeth during the procedure. Gently holding ice or cold packs against your jaw can also help alleviate pain.

Swelling and bruising

It’s normal for your jaw to swell and bruise after having your wisdom teeth removed.  This normally improves within two or three days; however, bruising may take several more days to improve.  You may use an ice pack, as directed by your oral surgeon, to help with the swelling and bruising.


After your surgery, you should plan to rest for the remainder of the day. You can return to normal activities the following day; however, avoid any strenuous activity that may loosen the blood clot from the socket for at least a week.


Water is your best friend after your surgery, drink plenty of it!  You should however, avoid alcohol, carbonated & caffeinated drinks and any hot beverages until at least 24 hours after your operation.  Additionally for at least one week, do not drink with a straw as the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot.


Remember, you just had your wisdom teeth pulled!   Thus, it’s important to limit eating to only soft foods, such as applesauce or yogurt, for the first 24 hours. You can begin to eat semi-soft foods when you’re able to tolerate them. Avoid any hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods that might get stuck in the socket and irritate your wound.

Cleaning your mouth

Avoid brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours; however, you can rinse your mouth, spit or use mouthwash. Depending on what your oral surgeon suggests for your unique case, you may begin brushing after 24 hours. When you do begin brushing, be very gentle near and around the wound.  After meals, you should gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours.

Tobacco use

Avoid any tobacco use for at least 72 hours after your operation.  The longer you wait, the faster the healing time. As for chewing tobacco, avoid its use for at least one week.  Again, the use of tobacco products after oral surgery can delay and slow the healing process while increasing the risk of complications.


Depending on your oral surgeon, you may have had dissolvable stitches that will dissolve within a few weeks, or not have had any stitches at all.  If you received stitches that do need to be removed, you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment to have them removed.

When to Call Us

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms after having your wisdom teeth removed, please call or email us immediately. These may be signs of an infection, nerve damage or other serious complications:

  • Excessive bleeding from the surgical wound site
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Severe pain not relieved by prescribed pain medications
  • Swelling that worsens after two or three days
  • Fever
  • Blood or pus in nasal discharge
  • Persistent numbness or loss of feeling
  • Any bad taste in your mouth not removed by rinsing with saltwater
  • Pus in or oozing from the socket

If you don’t experience any complications or need any stitches removed after having your wisdom teeth pulled, you most likely will not need a follow-up appointment.  However, always consult with your oral surgeon as each case can vary.

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