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Post-Op Instructions: Wisdom Teeth Removal Pain Relief

Wisdom Teeth Pain Image

An unfortunate fact is that even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing you noticeable pain, they could be wreaking havoc. If you have been recommended by your dentist to get these asymptomatic molars extracted, know there are several good reasons. For instance, impacted wisdom teeth could result in periodontal disease. This is known as gingivitis in its early stage, but could grow into a much bigger infection. Another issue may arise from your mouth not having enough room for your wisdom teeth to properly grow in. Overcrowding can cause misalignment, unraveling any previous dental work you had done.

Consult with your primary dental practitioner or an oral surgeon about the next steps for wisdom teeth removal. And then, once you have a date set for your procedure, prepare yourself for the recovery to come. Let’s get you on the right track for wisdom teeth removal pain relief.

What to Expect from Extraction Pain

Trismus—otherwise known as jaw stiffness and soreness—happens due to the surgery involving the jaw muscles around the surgical sites. It can restrict the mouth from opening. This is especially the case for those whose third molar was impacted. If you experience jaw tightness after your surgery, know that is completely normal. This is an issue that will resolve itself over time. In fact, the tension should wear off within approximately a week. Any bruising and swelling will similarly go away with time.

Although complications following wisdom teeth removal are unlikely with the appropriate aftercare, you may experience unexpected symptoms. For example, you could develop an infection. This will be noted by excess swelling, a high temperature, and pus around the surgical site. In this instance, or if your pain is severe, let your oral surgeon know. They will be able to provide you with further instructions.

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 85% of wisdom teeth eventually need to be removed.

5 Necessary Actions After Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Wisdom teeth removal pain relief is going to come from you doing exactly what the oral surgeon tells you to do. They are well-versed in what it takes to get through the healing process. Of course, it is still likely that you will experience discomfort. But by acting against potential bacterial infections, your pain will be short-lived. Follow these steps to ensure a successful wisdom teeth removal recovery.

Keep your mouth clean.

You are going to leave your wisdom teeth removal procedure with dressings in your mouth. Because the gauze is going to get bloody, you need to change it out as instructed. Keeping the wounds clean is essential to your healing. When the dressings are no longer needed, you can carefully brush your teeth and/or use an antiseptic mouthwash. You should also rinse with warm water and salt. This will reduce the soreness of your gums. Remember not to spit when you rinse, though. Instead, let the liquid fall from your mouth. You will be able to dab the area with a moist gauze pad to further clean it.

Use ice to reduce swelling.

Following wisdom teeth removal surgery, some people experience a significant amount of swelling. To mitigate this, you can apply an ice pack to your cheek near the surgical site. Another option is to put ice cubes in a plastic bag that is wrapped in a towel. Cold compresses will bring down the swelling caused by the localized trauma of the extraction. But do not leave the compress on your face for too long. This should only be for approximately 20 minutes at a time, then removed for the same amount of time. Other ways to mitigate swelling are to sit upright rather than lying flat and use anti-inflammatory medications meant for wisdom teeth removal pain relief.

Take the prescribed medication.

Once again, medication is a necessary aspect of wisdom teeth removal pain relief. Your oral surgeon may send you home with a prescription for pain medication. It is recommended not to wait until the pain sets in to take it. You need to prevent it rather than try to make it subside. The surgeon will also give you an antibiotic. This reduces the risk of infection. Clear instructions on when to take the medication will be provided. A good idea would be to make a calendar that states what times you should be taking your medications or a medication reminder app so that you do not forget about them.

Only consume soft foods and liquids.

It is critical to your recovery that you eat the right food. That is to say, you should not be eating anything that is chewy or hard. You can integrate those foods back into your diet in about two weeks, if you feel comfortable biting them. But until that point, you should only be eating foods that don’t require much of a bite. Think of soft things like mashed potatoes and applesauce. For that matter, on the first day after your wisdom teeth removal surgery, you will need to stick to liquids only. This way you don’t cause yourself unnecessary discomfort.

Make sure to get rest.

In order to get the most wisdom teeth removal pain relief, you need to get plenty of rest. Stay away from the gym in the first few days following your procedure as directed by your oral surgeon. Many oral surgeons recommend taking off two days of work after the procedure, as well. This will give your body the chance to properly heal. If you work somewhere that requires a lot of talking, going in immediately after surgery will only result in stress at the extraction site. Slowly return to your regular activities once you start feeling better.

What to Know About the Recovery Timeline

After your wisdom teeth procedure, you are going to need to focus on maintaining your blood clots. These will form over the surgical sites. You need to be very careful about taking care of them. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing the condition of dry socket. Immediately let your oral surgeon know if the blood clot is removed from the surgical site or doesn’t form. They will help you properly cover the wound.

In the days that follow, you should continue to be gentle. You are able to speed up your healing process by being serious about wisdom teeth removal pain relief. Still, it will take approximately two weeks following surgery to return to your normal routine. At this point, any mild bruising you may have experienced should be healed. You are also able to start easing back into eating your favorite foods. That is, of course, if you have been serious about wisdom teeth removal pain relief.


Dr. Jeff Alford is an expert at wisdom teeth removal procedures. He offers his services to Greater Austin area residents at two locations in the heart of Texas: Lake Travis Oral Surgery and Bastrop Oral Surgery. Get in contact with our team if you are in need of an extraction. We will help you with understanding what the surgery entails, how to go about wisdom teeth removal pain relief, and filing your insurance claims.