2561 Commercial Drive

Vancouver BC V5N 4C1

Mon-Wed: 10am-6pm

Thus-Fri: 9am-5pm, Sat: 9am–4pm

Wisdom Teeth: What You Need to Know About Extraction and Recovery
Jun 13 2024

Are your wisdom teeth causing problems? Many people experience issues like pain, swelling, or misalignment with their wisdom teeth. Luckily, we’re here to help with everything you need to know about wisdom tooth removal and recovery. From recognizing symptoms and preparing for the procedure to managing discomfort and ensuring a swift recovery, we’ve got you covered. With this information, you’ll feel confident navigating wisdom tooth extraction and maintaining good oral health.

What are wisdom teeth and why do they need to be extracted?

Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties, but due to modern diets and smaller jaws, there often isn’t enough space for them to grow properly. This can cause them to become impacted, leading to misalignment, crowding, pain, swelling, and infections. In some cases, cysts or tumors may form around impacted wisdom teeth. To prevent these problems, dentists often recommend extracting problematic wisdom teeth. This common procedure helps alleviate discomfort, maintain dental alignment, and reduce the risk of future oral health issues.

Signs and symptoms of problematic wisdom teeth

How do you know if your wisdom teeth are causing problems that warrant extraction? There are several signs and symptoms to watch out for that may indicate issues with your third molars.  These are the Signs Your Wisdom Teeth May Need Extraction:

  1. Pain or Discomfort: Persistent pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth, especially around the wisdom teeth area.
  2. Swelling and Redness: Swelling and redness in the gums near the back of the mouth.
  3. Difficulty Opening Mouth: Trouble fully opening your mouth, which could indicate impaction.
  4. Bad Taste or Odor: A bad taste or odor coming from the back of your mouth, possibly signifying an infection.
  5. Jaw Stiffness and Headaches: Jaw stiffness or headaches caused by pressure from impacted wisdom teeth.
  6. Shifting or Crowding Teeth: Noticeable shifting or crowding of other teeth due to the wisdom teeth pushing against them.

The extraction process: What to expect

  1. Consultation:
    • Your dentist will examine your wisdom teeth and discuss the treatment plan.
    • X-rays may be taken to assess the positioning of the teeth and identify any potential complications.
  2. Anesthesia and Sedation:
    • On the day of the extraction, local anaesthesia will numb the area around the wisdom teeth.
    • Sedation may also be provided to help you relax during the procedure.
  3. Extraction Process:
    • The dentist will carefully remove the impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth, often in sections to ease the process.
  4. Post-Operative Instructions:
    • After the extraction, your dentist will give you specific instructions for a smooth recovery.
    • You may experience some bleeding and swelling immediately after the procedure, which should subside over the next few days.
  5. Care and Healing:
    • Follow your dentist’s guidelines for caring for the extraction sites to prevent infection and promote healing. 

Preparing for wisdom teeth extraction

  1. Follow Pre-Operative Instructions:
    • Adhere to any guidelines provided by your dentist, such as fasting before the procedure.
    • Arrange transportation to and from the dental office.
  2. Stock Up on Soft Foods:
    • Prepare soft foods like yogurt, soup, and applesauce to eat during the initial recovery days when chewing may be difficult.
  3. Pain Relief Medication:
    • Have pain relief medication ready, whether over-the-counter or prescription, as recommended by your dentist to manage post-extraction discomfort.
  4. Clear Your Schedule:
    • Set aside a few days post-extraction to rest and recover, avoiding strenuous activities.
  5. Follow Post-Operative Care Instructions:
    • Diligently follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications. 

Recovery after wisdom teeth extraction

  1. Manage Bleeding:
    • Expect some bleeding during the first 24 hours.
    • Use gauze pads provided by your dentist to bite down on and control the bleeding.
  2. Reduce Swelling:
    • Swelling is common and may peak around the second or third day.
    • Apply an ice pack to your cheek for the first 24 hours to reduce swelling and discomfort.
    • Switch to a warm compress after the first day to promote blood flow and aid healing.
  3. Maintain Oral Hygiene:
    • Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to keep the extraction sites clean and prevent infection.
  4. Avoid Certain Activities:
    • Do not use straws or smoke, as these can dislodge blood clots and hinder healing.
  5. Follow Dentist’s Instructions:
    • Adhere to all post-operative care instructions provided by your dentist to ensure proper healing and minimize discomfort.

Tips for managing pain and swelling after extraction

  1. Pain Medication:
    • Your dentist may prescribe pain medication for the initial days of recovery.
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also help reduce pain and swelling.
  2. Ice Packs:
    • Apply ice packs to the outside of your cheek for short intervals during the first 24 hours to minimize swelling and numb the area.
  3. Warm Compresses:
    • After the first 24 hours, switch to warm compresses to promote blood circulation and aid healing.
  4. Soft Foods:
    • Eat soft foods and avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods to prevent irritation at the extraction sites.
    • Stick to cool or lukewarm foods that are easy to chew to avoid putting pressure on the healing areas.
  5. Hydration:
    • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and support the recovery process.
  6. Follow Dentist’s Instructions:
    • Adhere to your dentist’s recommendations on medication use and the application of ice and heat.


In conclusion, wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that prevents oral health issues and alleviates discomfort from impacted or misaligned teeth. Recognizing the signs of problematic wisdom teeth, preparing for the extraction, and following post-operative care instructions ensures a smooth recovery and maintains oral health. If you experience pain, swelling, or other symptoms, consult your dentist for an evaluation. Early intervention and timely extraction can prevent complications and promote dental well-being. For a bright and healthy smile, book an appointment with A&B Dental Clinic at 604-877-0664.

Dental Services