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HealthInfo Canterbury

Recovery after having your wisdom teeth removed

People differ a lot in how they recover from wisdom tooth surgery. How quickly you heal depends on how easy it is to take the teeth out. In general, here's what to expect (and some tips to speed up recovery).

During the first 24 hours

What to expect

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After 24 hours

If you have had stitches, they may be self-dissolving. If they are not self-dissolving your surgeon or dentist will need to take them out after a week. Ask your surgeon or dentist what type you have been given.

It will take a few weeks to months to heal completely. However, usually within the first week or two you have healed enough to be reasonably comfortable and pain-free.

Potential complications of having your wisdom teeth out

Two important complications include:

Dry socket

Dry socket is common and happens when either a blood clot has failed to form in the extracted tooth socket or the blood clot that does form is dislodged. This delays healing. Dry socket typically happens three or four days after the extraction and is accompanied by pain (ranging from dull to severe) and a foul mouth smell. Your oral surgeon or dentist will treat this by placing a medicated dressing in the socket. You will need to replace this dressing every 24 hours until the symptoms go away.

Paraesthesia

Paraesthesia is less common. Wisdom teeth entrapped in the jawbone are often close to nerves. Sometimes these nerves can be bruised or damaged when the tooth is removed. This causes numbness (called a paraesthesia) of the tongue, lip or chin that can last a few days, weeks, months or may even be permanent.

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Review key: HIWIS-75198