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Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery – What Can You Expect

It’s important to know before undergoing wisdom teeth removal, that recovery time needed to make a full recovery – that is, the time required to return to normal daily activities – can differ from one person to another. This can depend on several factors including:

  • How many wisdom teeth are removed – is it just the one or your full set?
  • Whether the process is being carried out chairside or in a hospital setting
  • Whether it’s a straight forward wisdom tooth extraction or whether it’s a complex job
  • How good your body is at making a speedy recovery

So while you can see how it’s impossible to give a ‘one size fits all’ answer, there are some things that you can and should expect! Let’s take a closer look…

First 24 hours after surgery

Post anaesthetic

Whether you undergo a single wisdom tooth extraction or multiple extractions, you can expect to be given some form of anaesthetic. This may be a local anaesthetic or a general anaesthetic, depending on how complex the removal is and how many wisdom teeth need to be extracted.

In some cases, particularly under a local anaesthetic, you may feel okay to drive home after treatment but it’s important to seek advice from your dentist before doing so.

On the flip side, particularly in the case of a general anaesthetic, patients may feel drowsy for some while after. If the procedure is being carried out in a hospital setting, it isn’t unknown for them to be kept under hospitalisation overnight.


The vast majority of people will experience little or no discomfort right after surgery; this may be due to the anaesthetic working its magic. However, the vast majority of people will feel a degree of discomfort once the anaesthetic wears off. This is normal and it’s your body’s way of initiating the healing process.

You may experience some form of swelling too. Again this is a normal part of the wisdom teeth removal healing process. You are also likely to see traces of blood in the mouth. Right from day 1, your dentist will give instructions on the use of a cold compress (ice pack) to curb any swelling and you will also be given instructions on when and what to take to control any discomfort. Usually, any pain felt can be brought under control using over-the-counter painkillers or prescription drugs.

wisdom tooth extraction wisdom teeth removal recovery no gaps dental sydney

Food and drink

It should be okay to eat very soft foods such as pasta, rice, and soup within the first 24 hours after surgery, but do ensure that they are not too hot or too cold. It’s also important to stay hydrated. Even if you don’t feel hungry, drinking plenty of water aids the recovery process. Naturally, you should avoid alcohol and caffeine, and with any drinks avoid using a straw as it can lead to recovery complications.


On day 1 especially, you should try to limit your movement. Don’t undertake any strenuous activity or heavy lifting and avoid moving the head around too much.

Day 2-7

By the second day, patients can expect to be moving around as normal. However strenuous activity should still be avoided in case any stitches are dislodged or the blood clot formed over your wound is ruptured.

Brushing teeth

By day 2, teeth can be gently brushed but you should avoid brushing against any blood clots at the extraction site. Don’t worry, because your dentist should give you all the information you need on how best to look after your teeth after an extraction. All you need to do is to follow those instructions.

Wisdom teeth removal healing process after day 3

During post-surgery days 3-7, you can expect your symptoms to be greatly improved. Any pain or discomfort felt should dissipate and patients should expect no more traces of blood in the mouth. At this stage, you may want to introduce more foods as your recovery progresses but it may be advisable to avoid sticky or crunchy foods for a few more weeks at least.

Also, if you are a smoker, you should refrain at this vital time because it can slow down the recovery process after wisdom tooth extraction.

Day 7 and beyond

Most people are fully recovered after 1 week and can carry on with their normal daily lives. They should also be good to resume any strenuous activity such as exercising however, it should be done with a certain degree of caution. If in doubt, it’s always worth consulting your dentist first before you begin. By day 7 any discomfort should be gone, along with any swelling and traces of blood from the site.

How do you know if your wisdom tooth extraction recovery isn’t going to plan?

There are times when your recovery process isn’t happening as quickly as you want it to. In most cases, it could be that your body takes longer to heal than others and is nothing to worry about. However, in other cases, it could be that you have developed complications although these are pretty rare.

In these cases, it’s important to seek help immediately if you:

  • Can’t control the discomfort with the medications your dentist suggests
  • Experience swelling that gets progressively worse instead of better over time.
  • Experience bleeding that doesn’t stop when you hold gauze over it or apply gentle pressure
  • Have problems swallowing or breathing
  • Develop a fever


Wisdom tooth extraction is a common and safe procedure undertaken by millions of people  every year. Typically, recovery after a wisdom tooth removal takes between 3-10 days depending upon a wide number of factors. However, to aid speedy wisdom teeth removal recovery and avoid any infection, patients should closely follow any home care instructions that their dentist gives them.

If you want to know more about wisdom teeth removal or the wisdom tooth extraction cost, then come and talk to the team at No Gaps Dental. As a multi-location dental group, we provide a comprehensive range of treatments including teeth extractions and very competitive prices. Call today on 02 8007 6727.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.

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