What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Extraction


If you have never had a tooth pulled, you may be worried about having wisdom teeth extracted. It is true that this type of extraction is sometimes complex, especially if the tooth has not fully erupted. However, with today’s dental techniques and technology, as well as modern pain management solutions, there is nothing to be worry about. Most people recover quickly, with no complications. Here’s what to expect after wisdom tooth extraction.

Immediately After Extraction

When the tooth is out, your dentist will clean out the socket, stitch it up, if required, and ask you to bite down on gauze. Leave the gauze alone for the recommended amount of time to allow a blood clot to form.

If you had only local anesthesia, with or without oral sedation or nitrous oxide, you will be given time to rest and recover until you are discharged. If you were given IV sedation, you must have someone accompany you who is licensed to drive you home.

Activity Restrictions

Your dentist will provide specific instructions tailored to your surgery and your daily life. In general, though, you should go home and spend the rest of the day relaxing. 

If you had oral or IV sedation, do not drive for the first 24 hours. Avoid heavy lifting, sports, or any strenuous activity for at least a week, as these could slow healing and cause the blood clot to dislodge.

Try not to smoke for 72 hours, and avoid chewing tobacco for at least a week. Tobacco use slows healing, increases your risk for complications, and makes it more likely for you to develop a painful dry socket. Chewing tobacco is especially risky, since it introduces tobacco directly to your injured tissues.

Eating, Drinking, and Oral Hygiene

Pain, Bleeding, Bruising and Stitches


Some pain and bleeding are to be expected after surgery. Take your medications as recommended/prescribed rather than waiting for pain to set in, and use gauze as directed if the need arises.

Many people experience some bruising and swelling. Use an ice pack as directed, typically 30 minutes of every hour for comfort.  Swelling generally goes down after three days, while bruising may takes longer to fully fade.

You may have a follow-up appointment to remove stitches. This simple procedure rarely requires anesthesia, and it takes just minutes to complete. If you have dissolving stitches, you don’t need to do anything special. Just use care when brushing the extraction site until they are gone.

Possible Complications

Complications are possible, though they are extremely rare. Call us immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Swelling that increases AFTER 72 hours  have passed from the time of your surgery
  • Pain that is increasing or difficult to control
  • Uncontrollable bleeding or significant bleeding
  • Fever

And report to the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing at anytime.

Ready to Get Started?

Costello Oral Surgery Associates has been named a Top Dentist by New Jersey Monthly every year since 2009. If you are ready for personalized, cutting-edge, compassionate care, contact us today at 201-712-5556 (Maywood), 201-848-5015 (Franklin Lakes), or 973-513-8100 (Wayne) to schedule your first appointment.