Dos and Don’ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Published on: September 19, 2022
Dentis explaining after procedure care to a young woman sitting in a dental chair.

The last four molars that erupt are usually the wisdom teeth. These are located in the back positions at the upper and lower sets of teeth. Many people need to have their wisdom teeth removed due to complications with these large molars. There are some dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction to follow.

Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure, but how the teeth are removed can vary depending on the patient. Some wisdom teeth can be pulled in a non-surgical procedure; some impacted wisdom teeth require oral surgery to extract the teeth from the jaw and gum tissue.

During wisdom tooth removal, patients usually receive local anesthesia and may require sedation. Most patients will need a responsible adult to drive them to and from their appointment for wisdom tooth removal. Recovery may take a few days of rest, but most non-strenuous activities can be resumed within days.

Non-Surgical Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery

When a wisdom tooth is pulled out and incisions are not needed for removal, the recovery can be quicker and less painful than after oral surgery. With non-surgical wisdom tooth extraction recovery, patients should expect to take it easy the rest of the day. Pain relievers can be used for any discomfort.

Most patients with a non-surgical wisdom tooth extraction can resume most activities the next day. However, they will need to adhere to the post-procedure instructions given by their dentist. This can include food and beverage restrictions, along with prevention of infection and dry socket.

Surgical Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery

When oral surgery is needed to remove wisdom teeth, the recovery may be longer. Incisions may be required to extract the large molars, which will take time to heal. Most people with a surgical wisdom tooth extraction should expect to need at least two days to rest after their procedure.

With surgical wisdom tooth extraction recovery, you may have more restrictions when it comes to food, beverages and activities. Since it is considered surgery, you want to give your mouth and body time to heal after your procedure.

Can I Drink Water After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

While there are some restrictions that you should adhere to regarding foods and beverages after a tooth extraction, water is not one of them. If you wondered, “Can I drink water after wisdom tooth removal?” the answer is yes. You should drink plenty of water to help with your recovery, but other substances may be limited.

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Food Dos and Don’ts After Wisdom Teeth Extractions

After any tooth extraction, you want your mouth to heal as quickly as possible. Avoiding damage to the exposed tissue is important, but you also need nutrients to help you recover. Eating the right foods is important for a faster healing process.

During the first 24 hours, do avoid any foods that need to be chewed. Stick with super soft foods like soup (not too hot!), yogurt and applesauce that do not need chewing. Drink plenty of water, but not through a straw, as that can dislodge the clots in the extraction areas.

After the first day, continue with soft foods that are not too crunchy, hot or spicy for a few days. Scrambled eggs, tofu, cottage cheese, mashed cooked vegetables, bananas and other soft foods should be well tolerated. Most people can begin adding more foods after day three or four as pain allows.

What To Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Beyond water and foods, the other dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction will be given to you by your dentist. The extent of the restrictions will depend on how many teeth were removed and the method of extraction. Some things you may be told to avoid include:

  • Smoking. Smoking or vaping can be disastrous after wisdom tooth extraction. The suction can dislodge the blood clots from the extraction site and cause painful dry socket. Also, smoking can slow the healing process. Avoid for at least a week after your extraction.
  • Drinking from a straw. Like smoking, sucking through a straw can dislodge blood clots. Avoid for at least a week.
  • Alcohol. You should not drink alcohol for at least 48 hours after your procedure, preferably at least a week.
  • Blowing your nose. The pressure from blowing your nose can disrupt the extraction sites. Just wipe your nose during the first week or two after wisdom tooth removal.

As far as the “dos” after wisdom tooth extraction, make sure to get your rest, water and any medications recommended by your dentist. Many patients can get relief with a cold compress on the cheek and rinsing with saline water 24-hours post procedure can help prevent infections.
Dentist reviewing man's dental imagings.
If you follow the dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction recommended by your dentist, you should be completely recovered within two weeks. Make sure to follow your post-procedure instructions for a quick and comfortable recovery.

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