How painful is wisdom teeth removal? 6 Tips to Reduce Pain

Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure many individuals undergo during their late teens or early twenties. 

While the idea of having teeth removed may seem daunting, understanding the process and what to expect can help alleviate concerns.

Understanding how painful wisdom teeth removal can be is crucial for those considering or scheduled for this procedure. 

How painful is wisdom teeth removal 6 Tips to Reduce Pain

How painful is wisdom teeth removal?

The pain experienced during wisdom teeth extraction may be minimal or easily manageable for some individuals with over-the-counter pain medication. 

Others may experience more discomfort and require stronger prescription painkillers for relief.

During the removal process, local anesthesia is typically used to numb the area around the tooth being extracted. 

This helps minimize any pain or discomfort during the procedure itself. 

However, it’s important to note that some pressure or tugging sensations may still be felt as the dentist or oral surgeon works to remove the tooth.

Afterward, there will likely be some soreness and swelling in the mouth. This can contribute to feelings of discomfort in the days following surgery. Ice packs and prescribed medications can help alleviate these symptoms.

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While wisdom teeth removal can involve varying levels of pain and discomfort, it’s essential to remember that every individual’s experience will differ.

How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last?

You can expect discomfort and soreness for the first few days following the surgery. This is completely normal as your body heals.

During the initial 24-72 hours, you might feel moderate to severe pain around the surgical site. 

Your dentist or oral surgeon will likely prescribe medication to help manage this pain during this period.

As time progresses, within a week or so, you should start experiencing gradual improvement in your condition. 

The intensity of pain will decrease daily until it eventually subsides completely.

It’s important to note that everyone’s healing process is different. Some individuals may recover faster than others with minimal discomfort, while others may require more time for complete relief.

To aid in your recovery and minimize post-operative pain:

  • – Take prescribed medications as directed by your dentist
  • – Apply ice packs on your cheeks intermittently
  • – Follow a soft food diet and avoid chewing near the surgical area
  • – Maintain good oral hygiene by gently rinsing with warm salt water

Remember to carefully follow all post-operative instructions your dentist or oral surgeon provides for optimal healing and comfort.

6 Tips for healing after removing wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth removal can be a daunting experience, but proper recovery is crucial for a smooth healing process. Here are some helpful tips to aid in your wisdom teeth removal recovery:

1. Follow post-operative instructions 

Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide specific guidelines for aftercare. It’s essential to follow these instructions closely to minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of complications.

2. Control swelling

Swelling is common after wisdom tooth extraction. Applying an ice pack gently on the affected area for short intervals can help reduce swelling and ease pain.

3. Manage pain

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage any discomfort you may experience during recovery. 

Always consult with your dentist or doctor before taking any medication.

4. Eat soft foods

During the first few days following surgery, stick to a diet of soft, easy-to-chew foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup, and smoothies. Avoid crunchy or hard foods that could irritate the extraction site.

5. Maintain good oral hygiene

While brushing should be avoided immediately after surgery, gentle rinsing with salt water can help keep the area clean and prevent infection. 

Resume brushing carefully while avoiding direct contact with the surgical site as you heal.

6. Rest and relax

Allow ample time to rest and recover following your procedure; avoid strenuous activities that may impede healing or cause bleeding at the extraction site.

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Remember that each person’s recovery process varies slightly, so it’s crucial to listen to your body and seek professional advice if needed throughout this period.

Dos and Don’ts after Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

After removing your wisdom teeth, taking good care of your mouth is crucial to promote a quick recovery. Observe the following dos and don’ts:

Do take prescribed pain medications as directed.Don’t ignore excessive bleeding. Contact your dentist or oral surgeon if the bleeding persists.
Apply ice packs to reduce swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off).Don’t rinse your mouth vigorously or use mouthwash for the first 24 hours.
Eat soft foods that require minimal chewing, such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, or soup.Don’t consume hot, spicy, or crunchy foods that may irritate the extraction sites.
Do drink plenty of fluids, but avoid using a straw to prevent dislodging blood clots.Don’t smoke or use tobacco products, as they can hinder healing.
Ensure good oral hygiene by gently brushing your teeth and rinsing with warm salt water after 24 hours.Don’t engage in strenuous activities or exercise for a few days after the procedure.
Do rest and give yourself time to recover.Don’t touch the extraction sites with your fingers or tongue.
Do follow all post-operative care instructions provided by your dental professional.Make sure to complete follow-up appointments with your dentist or oral surgeon.
Contact your dentist or oral surgeon if you experience severe pain, swelling, or other complications.Don’t consume alcohol for at least 24 hours after the procedure or while taking pain medications.
Do use pillows to keep your headDon’t brush
dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction

Potential Complications

While wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, it can come with potential complications. It’s important to be aware of these risks before undergoing the extraction.

One possible complication is a dry socket, which occurs when the blood clot that forms in the empty tooth socket dislodges or dissolves. 

This can expose the underlying bone and nerves, leading to severe pain and delayed healing. 

To minimize this risk, following your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully is crucial.

Infection is another potential complication. The surgical site may become infected if proper oral hygiene measures are not followed after the procedure. 

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Symptoms of infection include swelling, redness, pus discharge, and fever. If you experience these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately for appropriate treatment.

Nerve damage is a rare but serious complication resulting in numbness or tingling in the tongue, lips, or chin. 

This usually resolves on its own within a few weeks or months but may persist longer in some cases.

Remember that while these complications exist, they are relatively uncommon when performed by an experienced professional using proper techniques and precautions.

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Can you brush your teeth after wisdom teeth removal?

It is generally advised to avoid brushing the surgical site for at least 24 hours to allow proper healing. During this time, gentle rinsing with salt water or an antiseptic mouthwash can help keep the area clean.

Once the initial healing period has passed, your dentist will likely give you the green light to resume regular toothbrushing. 

However, it is important to be extra cautious around the extraction site. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently clean it without applying too much pressure.

If there are stitches in place, avoid dislodging them while brushing. 

Be sure to follow any additional instructions from your dentist regarding post-operative oral hygiene practices.

Can you eat after wisdom teeth removal?

Yes, you can eat after removing your wisdom teeth, but you should be careful during the first few days of your recovery. 

It is advisable to wait until the anesthetic wears off fully before eating because your mouth may still be numb shortly after the treatment.

Following a soft-food diet for the first few days is advised, which involves less chewing. Suitable foods include, for example:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies
  • Applesauce
  • Soups (without chunks)
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Pudding
  • Jello

Avoiding hot, spicy, crunchy, or hard foods will help prevent them from irritating the extraction sites or becoming stuck in the sockets. 

Also, refrain from using a straw because the suction may cause blood clots to move and impede healing.

You can progressively add more solid items to your diet as the days pass and your pain and swelling subside. 

To prevent placing pressure on the extraction sites, always chew on the side of your mouth opposite from where you are biting.

Is it OK to swallow saliva after wisdom teeth?

Yes, it is OK to swallow saliva after wisdom teeth removal. Swallowing saliva is a natural and necessary process for digestion, and it poses no harm to the healing process after the extraction.

During the initial stages of recovery, it is common to experience increased saliva production due to the healing process and the body’s natural response to the surgical site. 

Swallowing saliva helps keep your mouth clean and moist, aiding healing.

However, avoiding excessive spitting or forcefully rinsing your mouth during the first 24 hours after the procedure is important. 

These actions can disrupt blood clot formation and increase the risk of complications such as dry sockets. Instead, allow saliva to accumulate naturally and swallow it as needed.

If your dental professional has concerns or specific instructions regarding saliva management after wisdom teeth removal, it is best to follow their guidance for your particular situation.


How long does the wisdom teeth removal procedure take?

The difficulty of the extraction and the number of teeth being extracted are just two variables that affect how long the surgery takes. It can take anything between 45 and an hour, on average.

Is wisdom teeth removal painful during the procedure?

No, the procedure itself is not painful as it is performed under anesthesia. However, some discomfort and swelling may be experienced during the recovery phase.

Are jaw and surrounding pain usual following wisdom teeth removal?

Yes, it is common to have pain and tenderness in the jaw and surrounding areas following wisdom teeth removal. This discomfort is typically temporary and should subside as the healing progresses.

How can I prevent or minimize pain during wisdom teeth removal?

While it’s impossible to eliminate pain, following your dentist’s instructions, taking prescribed pain medication as directed, and maintaining good oral hygiene can help minimize discomfort during the healing process.

Bottom Line

Wisdom teeth removal can cause varying levels of discomfort but is generally manageable with proper care and medication. Following post-operative guidelines will help ensure a smooth recovery process and minimize potential complications. Remember to consult your dentist for personalized advice based on your specific situation.

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