If you will be having your wisdom teeth out in the near future, chances are you have questions about what you can expect as you recover from wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC patients often wonder how they will feel after surgery, how much pain they’ll be in and just how long it will take to get back to normal after the procedure. While there isn’t a standard answer to that question, since no two patients or procedures are exactly alike, we can offer a general idea of what the average patient can expect after wisdom teeth removal.

The Day Of Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

Once your procedure is complete, you’ll be given a bit of time to recover from the effects of anesthesia, then sent home. If you’ll be having IV sedation during surgery, you’ll need someone to drive you home, since the affects of this form of anesthesia will take several hours to wear off completely.

Plan to rest for the first 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC oral surgeons advise that patients take it very easy during this time to keep bleeding, swelling and pain to a minimum. Other things you can do to minimize swelling and pain after wisdom teeth removal include using ice packs on your face, applied for twenty minutes at a time, with twenty minute rest periods between applications, and keeping your head elevated on two or three pillows when you’re lying down.

Take your pain medications as prescribed by your oral surgeon, as well as any anti-inflammatory medications or antibiotics you’ve been given. Do not rinse your mouth vigorously, prod at your wounds with your tongue, smoke or drink through a straw, as these actions can disturb the blood clot that forms in the sockets left by wisdom teeth removal. Those blood clots are very important to proper healing, and should they be dislodged, the result is a condition called dry socket – the most common complication of wisdom teeth removal. While dry socket is easily treated, it can be very painful and delay the healing process.

The Next 10 to 14 Days

Swelling and pain will gradually decrease after the first 24 to 48 hours. Typically, these effects are largely resolved within 3 to 5 days, and initial healing of the soft tissues is generally complete within 7 to 14 days, depending upon the complexity of your procedure and your personal rate of healing.

You’ll be able to return to most normal daily activities after that initial 24 hour rest period, but sports, intense exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided during the first week or two after wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC patients should seek advice from their oral surgeon about when it will be safe to resume such activities.

You’ll be advised to stick to a diet of soft foods as you recover from wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC patients who follow these restrictions can greatly reduce risk of complications, such as infection or dry socket, that can make recovery longer and more uncomfortable. Also, avoiding foods that can irritate your wounds is important as well, so stay away from spicy foods, acidic ones – like tomatoes – or foods that are grainy or have seeds.

Recovery is typically very straightforward after wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC patients generally recover quite quickly and are completely back to normal within a week or two. Serious complications are rare, and even the most common minor complications – dry socket or infection are unusual, especially in patients who follow their oral surgeon’s after-care instructions carefully.

To schedule a wisdom teeth removal consultation with any of our oral surgeons, contact our office in the Washington, DC area at (202) 386-7100.