Having your wisdom teeth removed is a complex surgical procedure, and it’s important to give yourself enough time to rest and heal. Patients recover at different speeds, so while some return to work the next day, others may need up to two weeks before they feel comfortable and can resume their normal schedule.
You should take at least a couple of days off of work or school to recover from wisdom teeth removal. On average, we see patients resume their normal activities around 3–4 days after surgery. Some patients feel back to normal as soon as the following day, while others require a couple of weeks to fully recover. Dr. Ioppolo will recommend taking more days off based on your needs and the complexity of your procedure.
Everyone’s recovery after oral surgery looks a little different. Prior to your procedure, Dr. Ioppolo will outline steps for you to follow. This can include prescription medications, diet recommendations, and more based on your specific situation. At Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock, we provide post-operative instructions for wisdom teeth removal that contain information on how to care for your surgical sites, what activities to avoid, and more.
Here are some questions we often hear regarding recovery after wisdom teeth removal. Answers to these questions are general and may not apply to everyone. Be sure to ask your oral surgeon directly regarding your health and recovery after having wisdom teeth extracted.
For the first week, stick to soft foods. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if it is soft enough to smash with a fork, you can eat it. Examples include soups, eggs, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, smoothies, and yogurt. For 3 weeks, do not eat foods that are hard, crunchy, or very chewy, such as European breads, pizza crust, steak, jerky, nuts, or popcorn.
Resume your normal diet as you feel comfortable, but be careful around your surgical sites. If it hurts to bite or chew, stop eating it. You should also avoid using a straw to eat or drink anything for 3 days after your procedure.
Exercise increases your blood pressure, which can cause an increase in swelling, bleeding, and pain. You should not exercise for 3 days following your procedure. Unless otherwise directed by your oral surgeon, you can gradually increase your physical activities 5–7 days after your wisdom tooth surgery. Start with light activities like jogging or tennis.
Smoking and vaping can significantly impair your ability to heal following oral surgery. Do not smoke or vape for at least 1 week. The nicotine and tar in tobacco can impair healing and the action of smoking can dislodge the blood clot, causing a painful condition known as a dry socket. Ideally, cut down or stop smoking altogether before and after your procedure.
Salt water has natural healing properties and can help prevent infection and inflammation. After your wisdom teeth removal, Dr. Ioppolo will instruct you to rinse with warm salt water 6–8 times every day after the procedure. You can stop rinsing with salt water after 1 week. We may provide an irrigating syringe to help flush food and bacteria out of the empty tooth sockets. If you are given an irrigating syringe, use it for 2 weeks.
Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock is a narcotic-free practice and narcotic pain medications are not prescribed after routine oral surgical procedures. Dr. Ioppolo will advise you on over-the-counter medications you can take to alleviate post-surgical pain, as well as measures you can take, like using ice packs, keeping your head elevated, and getting lots of rest.
We offer EXPAREL® following wisdom tooth extractions, which is an opioid-free pain relief option. During your surgery, we will administer EXPAREL directly to the surgical site and it will provide numbing pain relief for up to 72 hours after surgery. Ask us about EXPAREL during your wisdom teeth consultation.
Take any pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. If you were given an antibiotic, take all of the medication as prescribed to prevent infection.
Healing is an important part of the wisdom teeth removal process. Your healing time will depend on your body’s natural healing abilities, existing health conditions, and the complexity of your surgery. Expect to rest and recover for at least a day or two after having your wisdom teeth removed, and know that it could take up to 2 weeks for you to fully recover.
Listen to your body as you heal. If any conditions occur, such as a dry socket or infection, this could prolong your healing time.
If your discomfort, swelling, or bruising are not improving, or if you notice any new symptoms, contact your oral surgeon right away. Our team at Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock is always here to help and will have you come into the office for an evaluation with Dr. Ioppolo if necessary.