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What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Are you preparing to undergo wisdom teeth removal? Congratulations on taking the first step towards a healthier and pain-free oral health! While the procedure itself may seem daunting, it’s crucial to remember that proper aftercare is just as important as the surgery itself. Our expert tips and advice will help guide you through what to expect after wisdom teeth removal as well as managing post-operative care providing you with a clear roadmap to a speedy recovery.

Common Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. However, they often cause various oral health issues, leading to their removal. The most common reasons for wisdom teeth extraction include:

1. Impaction: Wisdom teeth often don’t have enough space to emerge properly, leading to impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infection, and damage to adjacent teeth.

2. Crowding: The eruption of wisdom teeth can cause crowding and misalignment of the existing teeth, compromising the overall dental alignment.

3. Decay and Gum Disease: Due to their location at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are more challenging to clean. This makes them susceptible to decay and gum disease, which can affect the surrounding teeth as well.

4. Cysts and Tumours: In some cases, wisdom teeth can develop cysts or tumours, potentially leading to serious oral health complications if left untreated.

What to Expect During the Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure

During the wisdom teeth removal procedure, your oral surgeon will ensure your comfort by administering anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used will depend on the complexity of the extraction and your preference.

Once you’re properly anesthetized, your oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. In some cases, a small portion of bone may need to be removed to fully access the tooth. The tooth may be divided into smaller sections for easier removal. After the tooth is extracted, the incision is closed with dissolvable sutures or stitches that will be removed in a follow-up appointment.

The procedure itself is typically painless due to anesthesia. However, you may feel pressure and hear cracking sounds as the tooth is being removed. If you experience any discomfort during the procedure, notify your oral surgeon right away.

Immediate Aftercare Instructions

After the wisdom teeth removal procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will be closely monitored until the anesthesia wears off. Your oral surgeon will provide you with specific post-operative instructions, but here are some general guidelines to follow:

1. Rest and Recovery: Take it easy for the first 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. Avoid any strenuous activities or heavy lifting. Resting allows your body to heal and reduces the risk of complications.

2. Control Bleeding: It is normal to experience some bleeding after the surgery. Bite down on a gauze pad or a moist tea bag for about 30 minutes to help control the bleeding. If bleeding persists, contact your oral surgeon.

3. Apply Ice Packs: To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth to the affected area. Ice can be applied for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 24 to 48 hours.

4. Take Prescribed Medications: Your oral surgeon may prescribe pain medications and/or antibiotics to manage pain and prevent infection. Follow the dosage instructions carefully and take the medications as prescribed.

5. Eat Soft Foods: Stick to a soft food diet for the first few days after surgery. Choose foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, and smoothies. Avoid hard, crunchy, and spicy foods that may irritate the surgical site.

6. Avoid Straws and Smoking: Using straws and smoking can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the socket, leading to a condition called dry socket. To prevent this, avoid using straws and refrain from smoking for at least 48 hours after the surgery.

Following these immediate aftercare instructions will help promote healing and reduce the likelihood of complications. However, it’s vital to remember that every individual’s recovery may vary. Be sure to consult your oral surgeon for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific situation.

Managing Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling are common after wisdom teeth removal surgery. However, there are several measures you can take to manage these symptoms effectively:

1. Take Pain Medications as Prescribed: Your oral surgeon may prescribe pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It’s important to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions to ensure the medications are effective in providing relief.

2. Apply Cold Compresses: Applying ice packs to the affected area can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin, and apply it for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 24 to 48 hours.

3. Use Saltwater Rinse: Saltwater rinses can aid in reducing swelling and keeping the surgical site clean. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and gently swish the solution in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat this several times a day, especially after meals.

4. Elevate Your Head: Keeping your head elevated while resting can help reduce swelling. Use an extra pillow or prop yourself up with cushions to elevate your head while sleeping or resting.

It’s important to note that some degree of pain and swelling is normal after wisdom teeth removal. However, if the pain becomes severe or the swelling worsens, contact your oral surgeon for further evaluation.

Proper Oral Hygiene Post-Surgery

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is crucial for a successful recovery after wisdom teeth removal. While it’s important to keep the surgical site clean, it’s equally vital to exercise caution to avoid disrupting the healing process. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Gentle Brushing: After the surgery, gently brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid brushing the surgical area for the first few days to prevent irritation or dislodging the blood clot.

2. Rinse with Care: Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution after meals to keep the surgical area clean. Avoid using mouthwash containing alcohol, as it may irritate the surgical site.

3. Be Gentle with Flossing: Flossing is essential for maintaining oral hygiene, but be cautious while flossing around the surgical area. Avoid applying too much pressure to prevent injury.

4. Avoid Spitting and Sucking: For the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, avoid spitting forcefully or using straws, as these actions can dislodge the blood clot and lead to dry socket.

5. Attend Follow-up Appointments: Regularly attend follow-up appointments with your oral surgeon for evaluation and removal of any necessary sutures. These appointments are crucial for monitoring your progress and addressing any concerns.

By maintaining proper oral hygiene and following these guidelines, you can minimize the risk of infection and promote healing, ensuring a smooth recovery after wisdom teeth removal.


Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that can significantly improve your oral health and prevent future complications. By understanding the common reasons for wisdom teeth removal, what to expect during the procedure, and following our expert aftercare instructions, you can navigate the recovery process with confidence. Remember to manage post-operative pain, control bleeding, minimize swelling, maintain oral hygiene, follow a soft diet, avoid smoking and alcohol, and attend follow-up appointments. With this comprehensive aftercare plan, you can ensure a comfortable and speedy recovery, allowing you to enjoy a pain-free oral health for years to come. Book an appointment today with A&B Dental Clinic. Call us at 604-877-0664.

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