Ways To Recover After Wisdom Teeth Removal


Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure among people between the ages of 17 to 24. Wisdom teeth typically grow later in life and this might not be able to fit in the mouth. This can cause a great deal of pain, swelling, and jaw ulcers. The recommendation from dentists is usually to have these teeth removed with  surgery. However, there are side effects to this kind of surgery and it can cause discomfort to the individual. Here are some tips that you can use to reduce some of the discomfort and fasten the process of recovery.

Managing pain and discomfort

Prescribed pain medications

It is common to experience pain after wisdom teeth removal. To reduce the pain and aid recovery, it can be helpful to use painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. When taken at regular intervals these painkillers can help manage the pain. However, if this treatment doesn’t work you should consult your dentist or pharmacist to help you find the right medication for you.

Applying ice packs

Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and jaw is usually expected after the surgery. To minimize the swelling, you can apply an ice pack to either side of your face for 20 minutes. You can repeat this intermittently several times within the day however ice packs should not be left on continuously. After 48 hours it’s no longer necessary to use ice packs on your face and instead should switch to heat packs to reduce the pain.1  

Saltwater rinses

Salt water is well known for its healing properties as it speeds up the wound healing process, and reduces inflammation and bacterial presence in the mouth. Your dentist might recommend that you avoid rinsing for 24 hours after surgery as it can dislodge the blood clots that are forming which is helping the healing process. However, you can start rinsing with warm salt water the day after the removal 3 to 4 times a day.

Preventing dry sockets

Avoiding straws

You should avoid using straws as the suction movement of air and cheek can create blood clots away from the socket and dislodge it causing a dry socket. It’s recommended that you avoid using straws for a week after the surgery.2

Avoid smoking

You should also avoid smoking for at least 48 hours after extraction.

Avoid drinking carbonated beverages

Bubbles in carbonated drinks can loosen blood clots and cause a dry socket. You should wait 48 hours to drink carbonated beverages.1 

Eating and drinking recommendations

Soft foods

The day after the surgery, you should only eat soft foods such as yogurt or mashed potatoes. You can try to eat slightly harder food on the second day but if it causes you any pain it's best to return to eating soft foods.

Staying hydrated

You should drink plenty of fluids. 

Avoiding certain foods

There are certain types of food that can irritate the wounds in the mouth as they heal after extraction. Foods that are crunchy, sticky, or spicy can cause pain and irritation. Grains and seeds can get stuck in the wounds and stop the healing process.

Rest and relaxation

Avoiding strenuous activities

You should avoid strenuous activities and exercise for a few days after the extraction, longer if you are still having pain.

Sleeping with your head elevated

After you have your wisdom teeth extracted you should have your head elevated for the first few nights. You can do this by adding an extra pillow to support your head.  

Follow up care

Scheduling post operative appointments

Follow-up appointments are scheduled a week after the procedure.

Monitoring the healing progress

After a few days you should notice some of the swelling subsiding. It can take up to 2 weeks to recover from the procedure.


Recovery from wisdom teeth removal can take a few weeks. It is important to have plenty of rest and to follow post-operative instructions from your dentist. If you are experiencing any excess pain or bleeding you should report these symptoms to your dentist as soon as possible. 


  1. Should you have your wisdom teeth removed? In: InformedHealth.org [Internet] [Internet]. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2020 [cited 2023 Sep 12]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279590/
  2. Sarfi D, Haitami S, Farouk M, Ben Yahya I. Subcutaneous emphysema during mandibular wisdom tooth extraction: Cases series. Annals of Medicine & Surgery [Internet]. 2021 Oct [cited 2023 Sep 12];70. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/10.1016/j.amsu.2021.103039
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Hana Hailu

Master's degree, Brain Science, University of Glasgow

Hana Hailu is an accomplished academic with a strong foundation in the field of brain science and pharmacology. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Brain Science from the prestigious University of Glasgow (2021-2022). Prior to this, Hana earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Applied Pharmacology from Queen Margaret University, where she studied from September 2017 to September 2021. With her deep knowledge and dedication, Hana is poised to make significant contributions to the world of neuroscience and pharmacology.

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818