Wisdom teeth removal surgery is an outpatient procedure that removes the last molars, also called wisdom teeth. Outpatient surgery means you will arrive and leave the facility on the same day, with no overnight stay. While the procedure itself is routine to the professionals who perform it daily, it can be a scary prospect for those who are undergoing the surgery, which is understandable. Thankfully, there is little to worry about and patients recover quickly afterward in most cases. The following is more specifics on what you can expect during wisdom teeth recovery:
Wisdom Teeth Recovery Timeline
Day of Surgery
The first step of your recovery occurs immediately after your wisdom teeth removal is completed. In some cases, you will be given sedation and local anesthesia or local anesthesia by itself with no sedation to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free through the procedure. This would have been discussed and decided by you and your surgeon at the time of the initial consultation. If you were sedated, you will likely wake up in your dental chair not too long after the completion of the procedure. The effects of anesthesia can take time to wear off and each individual is different in terms of how long this can take. When general anesthesia sedation is involved, you will likely be moved to a recovery room to wake up at a slower pace. You might and may not even remember moving from the treatment area to the recovery room.
As you wake up from your procedure, experiencing some swelling and pain is perfectly normal. You will also likely notice some blood in your mouth. This is also normal and not a sign of a problem. When your surgeon decides based on established recovery criteria for sedation that you can be safely discharged from the office, you will be allowed to go home and continue your recovery. You are able to use an ice pack as soon as you would like to reduce swelling and combat pain. You might also be prescribed prescription pain medication or you might be advised to take an over-the-counter pain reliever or a combination of both to alleviate the post-surgical discomfort.
Dos and Don'ts
You will likely be given instructions on what you should and shouldn’t should not eat for the next few days following surgery. It is a good idea to stick with soft foods for a little while. Also, don’t smoke, drink alcohol or drink anything with caffeine. In addition, it is vital that you avoid drinking with a straw as this can remove the blood clot that should form and lead to dry socket, a painful complication condition. You can actually return to normal activities a few days after your surgery. However, it’s a good idea to avoid any activity that could dislodge the blood clot or negatively affect your stitches. Activities could include strenuous exercise or spitting in addition to those already mentioned.
Recovery Outlook: Long-Term
You can expect to recover from your procedure in around four to seven days. However, don’t be hard on yourself if it takes you just a bit longer. If your teeth were in at an odd angle or had become impacted, it can make the surgery more involved and can lead to a longer recovery time. However, most people are back to their normal schedule by a week after their procedure. The wound itself, though, will not fully heal for months, so it’s important to take care of the area properly by keeping it clean to avoid subsequent infections and complications.
Call if You’re Worried
It is normal to continue to experience some bleeding, pain and even swelling after your procedure. However, if the bleeding is excessive or the pain unbearable, it’s a good idea to call your oral surgeon to check for complications.