Among the most common questions people ask Dr. Emery as they are preparing to have wisdom teeth removed is how long the healing process will take. Healing time varies from one person to another to some extent, depending upon how difficult the extraction procedure is in each individual case.
So when it comes to wisdom teeth removal patients will get the most accurate assessment on healing time from their own oral surgeon, who will be familiar with their individual circumstances. However, there are some guidelines that can give you a general idea of how much recovery time you should plan for as you schedule your wisdom teeth removal to promote proper, complication-free healing.
Wisdom teeth removal is a fairly routine procedure, one that most people will have done at some point in their lives. While wisdom teeth that emerge nicely, coming in straight and with plenty of room in the jaw to avoid overcrowding, do not require removal, this is the exception rather than the rule. Wisdom teeth tend to be problematic for most people, since the average jaw simply isn’t large enough to accommodate them. Often, they emerge sideways, erupt partially or become impacted, unable to emerge from the gum at all.
Since wisdom teeth issues are very common, it is important that wisdom teeth development, which typically occurs between the ages of 17 and 25, be monitored carefully by your dentist. If there are signs of trouble, removing them early is recommended. Waiting gives the roots more time to develop, making removal more difficult. However, it is also important to schedule your procedure carefully, ensuring that you’ll have time to rest and recover as recommended by your surgeon.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Washington DC: The Healing Process
To minimize healing time, it is very important to follow the post-surgery instructions you will be given after wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC patients who don’t often end up with infections, dry sockets or other painful complications, making the experience more difficult than necessary and delaying full recovery.
You’ll be restricted to soft foods for a few days after surgery and advised to avoid strenuous activity, since increases in blood pressure can cause excessive bleeding at extraction sites, as well as interfere with the formation of blood clots that are necessary for healing. For the average patient, it typically takes about ten days after wisdom teeth removal for the extraction sites to close over, the initial phase of healing. During that time, being very careful to avoid injuring the area with hard foods is important, as is gently rinsing after meals with salt water to keep the wounds clean.
Healing under the surface will go on for approximately 10 days more, with some tenderness and, in some cases, mild pain or a feeling of stretching in the area when the mouth is opened wide. While you’ll likely be eating most foods fairly comfortably by this point, it is wise to avoid extremely hard foods, such as nuts or popcorn, for at least six to eight weeks.
Of course, everyone heals differently, so these are just general guidelines on healing time after a fairly simple extraction. If your procedure is more complex, requiring bone to be cut in order to extract the wisdom teeth, your time to fully heal will be somewhat longer. Your oral surgeon will be able to give you a more personalized estimate as you prepare for your procedure.
Learn about the wisdom tooth healing process and much more by reading our free eBook here.
To schedule a wisdom teeth removal consultation, contact our office in the Washington DC area at (202) 386-7100.