Having your wisdom teeth removed is almost like a rite of passage, but it does still involve a surgical procedure, no matter how routine. Therefore, patients should expect to set aside some time for recovery. Unless the patient develops post-operative complications, most people can return to work (sedentary jobs) or school within 2-3 days of the extraction. For jobs that require more vigorous activity, a little additional recovery time may be needed.
Your oral surgeon will discuss all of the post-operative aspects of your care, including the amount of time you must restrict activity after the procedure, at your consultation before the wisdom teeth extraction is scheduled. You will also get detailed instructions on how to care for the extraction site at home. If you follow these instructions, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of complications that could extend your recovery timeline.
Dry sockets and infection are the most common issues that patients encounter after having their wisdom teeth removed. To prevent dry sockets, patients should avoid drinking straws and smoking until they have completely healed from the procedure. Both of these activities can disrupt the formation or attachment of the blood clots that protect the sensitive nerves in the empty sockets.
Additionally, your oral surgeon will instruct you on proper oral hygiene practices to keep the extraction site clean and reduce the likelihood of infection. You likely will need to adjust your brushing and flossing technique for the first few days after having your wisdom teeth removed, as the site may be a little tender, but you still need to keep the area clean.
Patients also may need to adjust their diet for a few days, as chewing can cause some discomfort and tougher foods may harm the healing tissue. Your surgeon will give you instructions about this, as well.
If you have questions about any aspect of your wisdom teeth extraction, including what to expect from the post-operative recovery period, feel free to call our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable team members.