clean white image of a molar from distal and occlusal view after molar removal

Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery - What to Expect

Akeem AJAYI BDS, DDS
Akeem AJAYI BDS, DDS

General and Cosmetic Dentist

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Before or after getting a wisdom tooth (or 3rd Molar), it’s natural to have questions about what to expect during the healing process. Each individual’s experience will vary, but there are some general stages of healing that most people go through. This article will try to help you make sense of what is going on and how your gum and jaw bone are responding during this healing process.

Jump Molar Extractions

As stated earlier, the timeline would vary, so also will each individual’s experience will vary. I often tell my patient; even in the same mouth, every extraction is different and healing time or healing experiences may vary even when its in the same mouth. A Patient may experience at different variations or none at all some of these while healing from a wisdom tooth removal. The position of the tooth and the complexity of each extraction will determine the likely experiences during wisdom tooth removal recovery. 

Things To Expect During Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery

Generally, you can expect the extraction site to start to heal within a few days, and it can take up to a few weeks for the site to fully heal. Things to expect during the healing phase includes.

Bleeding: Some bleeding is normal after a tooth extraction, especially in the first 24 hours. You can expect some oozing of blood from the extraction site, but it should start to slow down within a few hours. Our dentist will pack gauze in the extraction site to help control initial bleeding.

Swelling: Swelling is also common after a molar extraction, and it can last for a few days. You can apply a cold compress to the affected area to help reduce swelling.

Discomfort: Pain and discomfort are normal after a tooth extraction, but the severity can vary depending on the individual and the complexity of the extraction. You will be prescribed pain medication or take over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage the discomfort.
Stitches: If our Dentist had to place stitches after the molar extraction, they will usually dissolve on their own within a week or two or it will become loose and fall out as your gums heal.

Healing Timeline after Wisdom Tooth Removal

Here is a general timeline of what is going on a day-to-day state during the healing process:

Day 1: Bleeding and Blood Clot Formation:

Bite down on gauze after tooth extraction

After the tooth has been extracted, a blood clot will form in the socket. This blood clot is an important part of the healing process, as it protects the extraction site and helps to promote healing.

You may experience some bleeding and swelling and as a result you may experience some difficulty opening your mouth. Our dentist will place gauze in the extraction site to help control bleeding.
and a prescription for pain will be sent to your pharmacy. It is important to rest and avoid strenuous activity.

Stage 2: Inflammation and Swelling (Days 2-3):

swollen cheek after impacted wisdom tooth removal

The bleeding should stop completely by day 3. swelling may get bigger by day 2 of surgery but it also starts to subside by day 3 for most patients.  and swelling should start to subside now. Bleeding would stop much sooner than swelling will. While you may stop bleeding as soon as minute after your wisdom tooth removal, you may be swollen for much longer.
You should be able to return to work or school, but you may want to avoid strenuous activity for a few more days.
You can start eating soft foods.
It is important to keep the extraction site clean by rinsing your mouth with salt and warm water before and after every meal.

Stage 3 Soft Tissue Healing Days 4-7:

The extraction site should be healing nicely. You should be able to eat most foods, but you may want to avoid hard or chewy foods for a few more days. You can start brushing your teeth normally but be gentle around the extraction site.
Granulation tissue will start to form by now. Blood clot gradually taking on a pink color and turning into a tissue called granulation and you may see some whitish stuff around the extraction site. Pain will be less intense as the inflammation starts to fade by now.

Soft Tissue Healing Days 8-14:

Soft Tissue Healing: As the bone tissue regrows, the soft tissues around the extraction site will also begin to heal. This process typically takes around two weeks to complete. The extraction site should be significantly healed by the end of the second week. You can resume almost all of your normal activities. It is important to keep an eye on the extraction site for any signs of infection, this is because while you may no longer be in pain and your gums have healed, healing is still ongoing as your body cells will start producing immature bone, which will start to fill the gap left by the extracted tooth. At this stage, watch out for; Increased pain, Swelling, Redness, Fever. If you notice any of these signs, contact us right away, it may be an infection or a dry socket.

Bone Regrowth Weeks 4-6:

Bone Regrowth: After the blood clot has formed, the surrounding bone tissue will begin to grow back. This process can take several weeks to complete. Your Gums will be completely healed by now, but early bone is still forming in the hole left behind by the tooth. The immature bone will begin to mineralize and become stronger and more resistant. This process of mineralization and maturation can be slow and take weeks to months, depending on various factors such as age, overall health, and type of extraction.

Emergency Free Exam and xray ad-min

4- 6 months Final Healing:

After the soft tissues have healed, the extraction site will be fully healed. However, it is important to note that the surrounding bone tissue may continue to grow and remodel for several months after the extraction.
After healing, the body will continue to remodel and reshape the bone over time. Without stimulation, the bone may start resorbing. This process occurs at a faster rate during the first year and then gradually over the next few years.

Frequently asked Questions:

Here are some additional questions you may have about molar extraction healing:

How long will it take to heal?

Most people recover from a wisdom tooth removal within 2-14 days. However, it may take longer for some people, especially those who smoke or have other health conditions. You can usually resume your normal activities after a molar extraction. However, you may want to avoid strenuous activity for a few days.

What should I eat after a molar extraction?

It is important to eat soft foods after a molar extraction. Avoid hard, chewy, or spicy foods. You can also try drinking smoothies or milkshakes.

When can I brush my teeth after a wisdom tooth removal?

You can brush your teeth normally after a wisdom tooth removal. However, be gentle around the extraction site.

When can I drive after a molar extraction?

You can usually drive after a molar extraction. However, if you are taking pain medication, you may want to wait until the medication has worn off before driving.

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