How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Healing Take?

How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Healing Take?

March 28, 2024

The healing timeline for wisdom teeth removal is about 7-14 days. However, it can vary quite a bit from person to person based on many factors. After extraction, swelling and pain typically peak on days 2-3, gradually improving over the first week. By the end of week 2, most patients report feeling significantly better. Some residual swelling may persist for up to 6 weeks. Healing complications are not common but can prolong recovery. With proper self-care after surgery, most people heal smoothly without issues.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of wisdom tooth removal healing, including recovery phases, timeline breakdown, influenced and risk factors, and tips for a better experience.

The Healing Timeline for Wisdom Teeth: What to Expect

While wisdom teeth removal recovery differs slightly from person to person, the general phases are:

Days 1-3: Peak swelling and pain with significant activity limitation

Days 3-7: Gradual decrease in discomfort and inflammation

Days 7-14: Steady improvement with progressive return to normal function

Weeks 3+: Occasional minor aches possible, but most limitations resolved

Most oral surgeons clear patients to resume physically demanding work/exercise around 7-10 post-op days. By 2 weeks, many people feel healed enough for international travel or major social events. However, every patient’s healing must be evaluated individually by their surgeon.

Wisdom Teeth Stitches

Non-dissolvable wisdom teeth stitches may require follow-up removal around 7-10 days post-op. Some oral surgeons use dissolvable sutures that don’t necessitate stitch removal. If non-dissolvable sutures were used, the dentist clipped and removed them quickly and simply.

Stitch removal signals excellent progress in healing from wisdom tooth extractions. However, slight soreness around extraction sites can persist for a while after stitch removal. This is normal and continues to steadily improve over the coming weeks.

Wisdom Teeth Healing Process

Wisdom teeth healing simply refers to the body’s natural ability to mend itself after removal surgery through rebuilding protective blood clots, tissues, nerves, and bone structures. 

Swelling After Extraction

Prediction of facial swelling is very common after wisdom tooth removal. During surgery, the oral surgeon manipulates the teeth and bone, which causes inflammation. This inflammation manifests as puffiness centered around the cheeks. Swelling typically begins within a few hours of surgery and peaks on days 2-3. Ice packs are enormously helpful for controlling swelling during the first 48 hours. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can also mitigate swelling.

By 1 week post-op, swelling has usually reduced by around 50%. Jaw stiffness and minor puffiness may persist for 2-3 weeks. It can take a full 6 weeks for all swelling to completely resolve. The duration of swelling depends on the surgery’s complexity, such as impacted or erupted wisdom teeth, bone removal, and number of teeth extracted. Simple, minimally invasive extractions tend to swell less severely.

Pain After Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery

Pain and discomfort are very common during wisdom teeth healing. The peak tends to align with swelling on days 2-3. Studies show dental pains are deep-seated, constant, dull aches rather than sharp or throbbing. Severe pain after extractions is not typical and may indicate complications like infection or dry socket.

The pain gradually subsides as the surgery site heals over the first 7-10 days. By 2 weeks post-op, surgery-related pain is minimal or gone. Any lingering discomfort is likely residual healing rather than acute surgical pain. Some occasional aches may persist at 6 weeks if wisdom tooth removal is complex.

Diet and Eating After Extractions

Eating can be challenging while wisdom teeth are healing. Following the oral surgeon’s post-op diet instructions during recovery is vital. For the first 24 hours, completely liquid nutrition is recommended. Pureed soups, apple sauce, and yogurt provide safe options without chewing. In addition, foods with high protein amounts are suggested for faster healing by a research review.

Many patients transition to soft foods as pain and swelling decrease over days 3-5. Well-cooked pasta, eggs, canned fruit, and instant oatmeal work well during early healing. Crunchy, sharp, or extremely hot/cold foods should still be avoided to protect the surgery sites.

By days 7-10, people often progress back to more solid foods. Gentle chewing can promote healing through improved blood flow. Caution should be taken with hard, crunchy items that might traumatize extraction sites. A successful transition back to a regular diet by 2 weeks often signals smooth healing.

Factors Affecting Wisdom Teeth Healing Time 

While average healing spans one to two months, certain variables impact individual timeframes:

Complexity of Surgery

Surgical extractions involve more intricate procedures, increased swelling, bone removal, and stitching. This delays initial healing, but proper technique prevents most complications.

Age

Younger patients in their late teens and early 20s have faster healing capabilities than older adults. Their bones are less dense and easier to manipulate during surgery as well.  

Individual Variation

Each patient progresses uniquely based on their physiology, habits, pain tolerance, and more. Some may heal faster or experience more lingering sensitivity. Genetics impact cellular regeneration, too.  

Proper At-Home Care

Closely adhering to all post-procedure oral hygiene and dietary guidelines ensures optimal healing without infection or dry socket development. Quickly addressing complications aids recovery.

Overall Health

Research shows that strong immune health and nutrition enable the body to focus energy on healing. Habits like smoking and underlying conditions like diabetes slow healing. Some medications also interfere with wound repair and bone growth.

Risk Factors for Delayed Healing

Most wisdom teeth patients see smooth, predictable improvement after surgery without issues. However, certain risk factors make complications more likely, delaying recovery:

Smoking

Smoking sharply reduces blood flow to the oral cavity, significantly slowing healing. People who smoke before/after surgery tend to have far more pain, swelling, and complications.

Oral Contraceptives

Some research links birth control pills to increased dry socket risk after wisdom tooth removal. Hormonal contraceptives may be avoided before and after surgery when feasible.

Age

Older adults tend to have more postoperative healing issues. As the body ages, its repair mechanisms become less efficient. Teens and young adults often heal the fastest.

Difficult Extractions

Impactions erupt teeth, and excessive bone removal can heighten postoperative inflammation. This may mildly delay healing compared to quick, straightforward extractions.

Medical Conditions

Illnesses like diabetes and autoimmune disorders that reduce the body’s healing capacity can complicate recovery. According to studies, certain medications also impair healing.

Influenced and Risk Factors for Dental Healing

Tips for a Smooth Recovery  

  • Take any prescribed antibiotics or pain medications exactly as directed to prevent infection and discomfort.
  • Apply ice packs externally to the face during the first 24 hours to reduce acute swelling.   
  • Adhere to a soft foods diet for at least 7-14 days before slowly reintroducing solid foods.
  • Avoid vigorous activity, exercise, smoking, and drinking with straws to mitigate bleeding risks.
  • Gently clean surgical sites using saltwater rinses, but avoid forceful swishing.
  • Follow tongue and mouth stretching exercises to prevent jaw stiffness if recommended.
  • Sleep with the head elevated to minimize throbbing and swelling during the first 2 days after the surgery.
  • Discuss any odd symptoms like fever or bad taste with your oral surgeon promptly.  
  • Attend scheduled follow-up appointments for assessment of healing and recovery.  
  • Pineapple contains bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory. Drinking pineapple juice can help reduce swelling and pain.

What If Healing Takes Longer Than Expected? 

While most patients see full recovery up to 2 weeks after wisdom tooth removal, some may experience delayed healing beyond this average timescale. Many factors, from medication interactions to poor nutrition, can slow the body’s reparative capacities. If swelling, pain, infection, or other discomfort persists longer than anticipated, several proactive steps should be taken:

Follow Up With Your Oral Surgeon  

The first priority is scheduling a prompt follow-up visit with the dentist who performed the extraction. Thorough clinical and radiographic exams can determine if pathologic complications are impeding normal mending. The surgeon can then recommend appropriate interventions, which may involve changing prescription medication, providing antibiotic care, or re-opening the site surgically to address concerns.

Support Your Body’s Healing Process

Making positive lifestyle adjustments provides the biological building blocks necessary for healing. This involves proper sleep, stress relief, smoking/alcohol cessation, and a vitamin-rich anti-inflammatory diet. Bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory in pineapple, reduces pain and swelling after wisdom tooth extraction. Gentle jaw exercises may ease stiffness, too. Such holistic self-care activates the body’s innate healing abilities.  

Practice Diligent Oral Hygiene

Poor oral health often slows recovery, so closely adhering to salt water rinses, gentle brushing around the area, and dental appointments ensure protection against further infection-based delays. Proper hygiene flushes away bacteria and food debris from extraction sites. Continue avoiding straw usage, tobacco products, and weeds like Marijuana, of any kind from smoking and gummy bears to Vape, which irritate tender tissues.

Conclusion

Based on typical wisdom teeth extraction recovery timelines, most individuals see the worst swelling and pain on days 2-3 post-op. Gradual relief comes over the first 7-10 days. By 2 weeks, most patients had turned the corner, and stiffness, aches, and inflammation greatly improved. Occasional minor soreness around surgery sites can persist for up to 6 weeks, becoming less frequent over time. With adequate precautions and self-care after surgery, serious healing issues are uncommon. Clear communication with your oral surgeon is key for optimal recovery from wisdom teeth removal.

Patients can better handle side effects by remembering common stages of healing and regulating expectations accordingly. Still, following surgeon guidance takes priority over general healing time averages. For a smooth recovery, listen closely to your dentist’s instructions on brushing, medication, activity levels, and any concerns you might have. Don’t hesitate to speak up about lingering numbness or other symptoms to avoid delays.

Disclaimer 

The information on VancouverDentistBC.ca is for general purposes and not dental advice. We do not guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Consult a qualified dentist for specific issues. Use of this site implies acceptance of our terms; if you disagree, please do not use the site.

Disclaimer

The information on VancouverDentistBC.ca is for general purposes and not dental advice. We do not guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Consult a qualified dentist for specific issues. Use of this site implies acceptance of our terms; if you disagree, please do not use the site.