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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Recovery after having your wisdom teeth removed

Te whakamātūtū i muri i te tangohanga a ō niho kōhari tuatoru

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

During the first 24 hours

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What to expect


Do not

After 24 hours

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

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

Possible complications of having your wisdom teeth removed

Two important complications include:

Dry socket

Dry socket is common and either happens when 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 causes 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'll need to replace the dressing every 24 hours until the symptoms go away.


Paraesthesia is less common. Wisdom teeth impacted in the jaw may be 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 very rarely may be permanent.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2022.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Page reference: 77274

Review key: HICPA-75368