Wisdom teeth are the last molars to erupt, typically between 17 and 25, although some people may develop them later in life. Because they erupt after the rest of your adult teeth, there is limited space in your jaw to accommodate them. This can lead to crowding and impaction, which can be uncomfortable and even adversely affect your oral health.
In most cases, a dentist prescribes wisdom teeth extractions to remove problematic teeth and provide wisdom tooth pain relief. If you are scheduled for a wisdom tooth extraction, you may want to know how long does tooth pain last and when you can return to regular activities.
How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Pain Last After Wisdom Teeth Extractions?
After your wisdom teeth extractions, your dentist will advise you on proper oral care, which may include over-the-counter and prescription medications to help heal your mouth and get wisdom tooth pain relief. You may have to take time off from school or work to cope with the healing process during the recovery phase.
Pain and swelling can persist for 7-10 days after your wisdom teeth extractions. The typical timeline for recovery from wisdom teeth extractions can look like this:
- The first 24 hours following surgery are commonly characterised by swelling, which peaks between 36 and 48 hours after surgery.
- Blood clots also form around the surgical site in the first 24 hours, protecting exposed bone and nerve endings while providing a foundation for new soft-tissue growth. You need to avoid flossing or brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth around the surgical site to prevent bleeding during this time.
- Swelling should subside after 4 to 5 days with some mild bruising. Opening your mouth may become difficult as the swelling decreases.
- After 7 days, new tissue begins to grow over the wound site.
You may continue to experience mild tenderness and slight oozing around the area for up to 2 weeks after a wisdom tooth extraction. However, if these symptoms are accompanied by fever, nausea, pus in the tooth socket, or a foul odour, contact your dentist immediately as it may be a sign of infection.
Ways to Get Wisdom Tooth Pain Relief
How long wisdom tooth pain lasts after a wisdom tooth extraction depends on each individual’s aftercare routine.
- Cold Therapy
Placing an ice pack on your cheek for 10 minutes and then removing it for 20 minutes can provide wisdom tooth pain relief by numbing the area and minimising swelling.
- Avoid Smoking and Tobacco Products
Refrain from smoking for 48 hours following surgery.
Smoking may dislodge the blood clot and lead to dry socket.
Tobacco also dries the mucosal membranes and limits wound healing.
Avoid strenuous activities, like bending over or lifting heavy items that may dislodge your blood clots. Rest with your head elevated on a pillow to prevent swelling and inflammation.
- Eat Soft Food
It is important to stay hydrated and eat well during your recovery period. Your dentist may advise you to eat soft foods such as soup, mashed potatoes and ice cream so as not to irritate the blood clots.
- Rinse With a Salt Water Solution
While you should rinse your mouth for the first 48 hours to allow the blood clot to form, you can gently swish salt water around your mouth to remove food particles and bacteria that could become trapped in your tooth socket.
Make a saltwater solution using 1 teaspoon of table salt combined with 1 cup of warm water. Swish every morning and evening, and after you eat.
- Use Over-the-Counter Medications
Anti-inflammatory medications can help you get wisdom tooth pain relief while you recover. If your pain persists, your dentist may prescribe a stronger painkiller.
Complications After Wisdom Teeth Extractions
You may experience prolonged pain after a wisdom tooth removal if you suffer from post-surgical complications.
- Dry Socket
A common issue following wisdom teeth extractions is dry socket. A dry socket can result when blood clots dissolve or dislodge in your mouth after surgery. This exposes the bone and nerves to air, food, fluid, and debris, which can lead to an infection.
Other risk factors also play a role in the development of a dry socket:
- Complex wisdom teeth extractions
- Oral contraceptives
- Previous history with dry sockets
- Poor oral hygiene
- Lower jaw extractions
Whenever you experience any symptoms of dry socket, such as fever, foul breath, or severe pain, you should immediately contact your dentist. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics or oral medications and advise you to rinse your mouth with saltwater or mouthwash.
- Nerve Injury
Injuries to parts of a nerve called the trigeminal nerve might cause pain, tingling, and numbness in your tongue, lower lip, chin, teeth, and gum. Although this is temporary, it can be permanent when there is severe damage to your nerve.
Get Effective and Compassionate Dental Treatment at Toothsome
At Toothsome, we ensure all our patients are comfortable during and after their wisdom teeth extractions.
Our dentists, Dr Willis and Dr Patty Chou are happy to answer any questions about wisdom teeth extractions and how to get wisdom tooth pain relief after surgery. Contact us on (02) 9158 6637 to book your appointment today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.