How Long Does It Take To Recover From Wisdom Teeth Removal?

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth, known as third molars, don't always need to be extracted. But, there are several reasons why people will need wisdom teeth removal. When the teeth cannot erupt through the gums because there's not enough room, when they risk damaging your other teeth or risk causing problems to the alignment of the bite, they will need to be removed. Fortunately, thanks to advancements in technology and technique, most people recover from wisdom teeth removal quickly and easily. Here’s what to know about recovery from wisdom teeth removal.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth May Need to Be Extracted

Signs that your wisdom teeth should be extracted often arise during your teens or early 20s. Signs that the teeth are beginning to erupt, or that they are causing problems include:

  • Pain in the back of the mouth
  • Tender or swollen gums 
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Shifting teeth
  • Problems eating
  • Infections (including potentially dangerous abscesses)
  • Sinus problems (infections, pressure)
  • Recurring cavities

If you have begun experiencing these symptoms, it is best to be evaluated by your general dentist. If the cause of the symptoms is a problem with the wisdom teeth, you will be referred to an oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal.

What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?

Wisdom tooth extraction begins with anesthetizing the surgical sites with local anesthesia. Other options may include IV sedation (twilight sedation) or general anesthesia. 

The surgery itself often takes one hour or less. More complicated cases can take slightly longer. During the procedure, the oral surgeon will make small incisions to expose the teeth that have not fully broken through or those that are stuck in the gums. The tooth will be gently loosened to lift it out of its socket. In some cases, the tooth may need to be removed in pieces.  

Once the tooth is removed, the socket and surrounding tissues are thoroughly cleaned to disinfect the area and prevent infection. The surgical sites will then be sutured and a gauze will be placed.

What to Expect After Oral Surgery to Remove Wisdom Teeth

It is normal to experience slight swelling, tenderness, and mild discomfort after your oral surgery.  Some patients may experience swelling of the face or mild bruising on the cheeks. You will be provided with a written list of post-operative instructions that you must follow to ensure a safe, swift recovery. The instructions will include the following. 

You should take all medication as prescribed, including any antibiotics to prevent infections. 

You should give your body all the rest and nutrition it needs to expedite the healing process. You should also take caution to avoid foods, beverages, or activities that can hinder your recovery. Other post-surgery instructions include:

  • Replace gauze as recommended by your surgeon
  • Rinse the mouth after meal (starting 24 hours after the procedure) 
  • Use ice packs to minimize swelling on the exterior of the face and jaw
  • Do not use straws (sucking motion can dislodge blood clots)
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Eat only soft foods for the first few days (yogurt, cottage cheese, smoothies)
  • Avoid spicy, hot, or acidic (citrus) foods for the first few days 
  • Do not smoke, vape, or use any form of tobacco
  • Do not drink alcohol

Most of our patients can resume their normal light activities the next day. Within 1-2 weeks nearly all patients have fully recovered from wisdom teeth removal. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Wisdom Teeth

Does insurance pay for wisdom teeth extraction?

Medically necessary wisdom teeth extraction is often partly covered by dental insurance plans. Contact your insurance carrier to learn about your specific plan coverage limits. Credit cards and third-party financing such as CareCredit can be used to pay for your portion of treatment.

What are the risks of not removing wisdom teeth?

Failing to remove wisdom teeth can lead to a host of oral health problems, including infections, increasing pain, and damage to your teeth and smile. If you’re referred for oral surgery to remove the third molars, it is recommended you schedule the surgery as soon as possible. 

Schedule Wisdom Teeth Removal in Hoboken, NJ, or Midtown Manhattan

If you’ve been referred for wisdom teeth removal, schedule your appointment with Hoboken Oral Surgery by calling 212-696-2677. We have locations in Hoboken, NJ, and Midtown Manhattan to best serve our patients. You may also book your appointment at either location online.