Wisdom teeth removal is, in the vast majority of cases, a fairly routine procedure. However, it is still oral surgery, and for many who undergo it, their first experience with surgery of any kind. Understandably, the prospect of oral surgery can be a bit intimidating for the average patient, so most have questions about the process. Among the most common of these questions concerns wisdom teeth removal recovery, with patients wanting to know just how long it will take them to get back to normal after their wisdom teeth are extracted.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery: What Patients Can Expect
Wisdom teeth removal recovery time varies from one patient to another according to factors that include the number of wisdom teeth extracted, whether they are upper or lower wisdom teeth, the age and general health of the patient and the complexity of each procedure. For that reason, an accurate estimate of recovery time for each patient can only come from that person’s oral surgeon, who will be familiar with their particular circumstances. However, we can offer some information on recovery times for the average patient, allowing patients a general idea of how much time they should allow for healing as they work out how to best fit wisdom teeth removal into their schedule.
Wisdom teeth removal recovery occurs in two basic phases, initial healing of the incision sites and longer-term healing of deep gum and bone tissues. During initial healing, which takes 10 to 14 days in the average patient, incisions made in the gum tissue will heal, mouth and facial swelling will resolve, as will any bruising that occurs as a result of the procedure. Pain should steadily decrease within the first week after surgery as well. Patients will have dietary restrictions during this period, generally asked to eat only soft foods. Activity will be restricted as well, with patients advised to rest during the first 24 hours, then avoid sports, heavy lifting and other strenuous activities throughout the initial healing period. After initial healing is complete, the average patient can return to normal activities and foods as healing of deep tissues and the jawbone continues, a process that generally takes about 90 days.
Patients can minimize wisdom teeth recovery time by following the post-operative care instructions given to them by their oral surgeon very carefully. These instructions, which include directions on proper care and hygiene, dietary guidelines and activity restrictions, are meant to reduce risk of complications that can delay healing, such as dry socket, excessive bleeding or infection.
For more information on wisdom teeth removal and recovery, contact our office at (202) 386-7100.