Getting a wisdom tooth pulled is a good thing that will benefit your oral health. But it will cause some temporary pain. Here’s what you can expect.
Every year, 10 million wisdom teeth are pulled from roughly 5 million people in the U.S. If you’re one of them, you’re probably glad the procedure is over! Now, it’s time to heal. But if you’re wondering how long the pain typically last after a wisdom tooth extraction, you’re not alone!
Depending on how many wisdom teeth were removed, whether they were severely impacted, and how well you heal, your full recovery can take anywhere from three days to two weeks. Let’s look at a possible timeline of what to expect as you recover from a wisdom tooth extraction.
Your wisdom tooth extraction recovery timeline
Wisdom teeth, or the fourth set of large molars at the back of the mouth, typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Dentists recommend removing them to prevent severe gum infection, tooth decay, and damage to surrounding teeth. Getting the teeth pulled at a young age also sidesteps potential complications during the extraction procedure.
A wisdom tooth extraction isn’t painful because you’ll be given anesthesia. However, once the anesthesia wears off, you will experience some pain and swelling in the days following the extraction. Here’s a rough timeline:
Day 1 to 3. The pain and swelling will be most intense during this period. To stop the bleeding at the extraction site, your dentist will ask you to place a gauze pad over it for at least an hour. It’s essential you keep the gauze pad on the site to encourage the formation of a blood clot, which will help protect the bone tissue and nerves. In addition, your jaw may feel numb and stiff, and you may notice an unpleasant taste and tingling in your mouth. To promote healing, take a day or two off from work.
Day 4 to 5. At this point, the swelling of the cheeks and jaw stiffness will likely continue. However, the bleeding should subside, and you can gradually resume your daily routine — but be sure to avoid strenuous tasks.
Day 6 to 14. The swelling, bleeding, and tingling sensations should decrease. You can move your jaw without restrictions. At this point, you are healed enough that you can fully resume your daily activities.
Complications from a wisdom tooth extraction are extremely rare. But if you experience excessive bleeding and pain a week after the surgery, contact your dentist. Fever, pus from your nose, and persistent numbness and tingling should also be reported to your dentist, as you may have what is known as a dry socket, or the loss of the blood clot. If the clot is gone, your bone and nerves are left exposed, which can be exceedingly painful and lead to other complications.
Pain management tips
While you’ll no doubt feel some discomfort after the extraction, you can manage the pain with these home-care tips:
Take pain medications. Over-the-counter medications or prescription pain relievers can lessen your pain. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection.
Apply an ice pack. Apply a cold compress to the cheek for 15 minutes to bring down the swelling.
Sleep on a raised pillow. Raise your head on a pillow while you sleep to reduce swelling.
Don’t brush for 24 hours. You cannot brush the day following the extraction. After 24 hours, you can rinse with warm water and salt. But do not spit it out, as it may dislodge the blood clot. Instead, let it drain from your mouth.
Eat soft foods. Eat yogurt, soups, applesauce, and smoothies for a few days. But don’t sip through a straw, as that can also dislodge the blood clot. Avoid crunchy, spicy foods that can aggravate the tender extraction site.
Despite the temporary discomfort, a wisdom tooth extraction ensures your oral health by lessening the chance of infection and tooth decay. Follow your dentist’s instructions and these tips to manage the pain as you heal.
Schedule your wisdom tooth extraction today
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Casper, Wyoming, location today! Our highly trained dentists will make your wisdom tooth extraction as painless as possible and speed up your recovery! Don’t live near our Casper, Wyoming, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
1530 Centennial Ct.
Casper, WY 82609