Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQ

Wisdom teeth removals are a standard procedure for oral surgeons, whereas patients approach it with plenty of questions. Below are the most frequently asked questions patients have regarding their wisdom teeth extraction. If you have a question not answered here, call our office to speak with a friendly team member.

How Long do I Keep the Gauze Pad in my Mouth?

You will keep gauze on the surgical area for 20 minutes following your wisdom teeth extraction. Replace it with fresh, moist gauze for another 20 minutes, and repeat this cycle while the surgical area is actively bleeding. The purpose of the gauze is to keep pressure on the extraction site – not to soak up the blood.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Painful?

You do not feel any pain during your wisdom teeth removal procedure. The surgery only takes about 45 minutes. The extraction site is numbed by local anesthesia during surgery, and you are sedated. The effects of anesthesia and your oral surgery sedative will wear off a few hours after you return home.

We're Here to Help!

Call us with any questions or concerns. Our caring and dedicated Oral Surgery team makes it their number one priority to give you a comfortable experience. We look forward to taking care of you!

Tacoma: 253-473-0651 Puyallup: 253-799-1525 Request an Appointment

When do I Start Medication?

We recommend you take your prescribed pain medication soon after leaving our office. If you wait until the anesthetic effects wear off, you will feel some discomfort around the extraction site before the pain medication kicks in. Please pick up your pain medication prescription in advance of your procedure to ensure you can take it as soon as you have a little something in your stomach.

When and What Can I Eat/Drink Following Surgery?

It is essential to avoid taking your pain medication on an empty stomach. The first stop you make should be for something to eat/drink following your procedure. Stick to a soft food diet for about a week after surgery, at which time you can begin adding solid foods back into the mix.

  • Applesauce
  • Oatmeal
  • Pudding
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt

View our Doctor Approved Post-Op Grocery List for more suggestions >>

How Long Will the Recovery Take After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Recovering from a wisdom teeth removal often takes around a week, but it can take up to two weeks for some patients. The later in life you get your wisdom teeth removed, the more complicated the procedure and the longer it might take to recover fully.

In the first 24 hours following surgery, a blood clot will form over the extraction site. Over the next two to three days, the swelling in your cheeks and mouth will decrease. The oral stitches should completely disintegrate after about seven days, and your jaw will feel less stiff and sore by the tenth day. By the two-week mark, your face should be completely free of any minor bruises.

What Complications Can Occur After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Complications can occur during recovery if a patient fails to properly follow the after-surgery care instructions. In these rare instances, patients may develop a gum infection that requires a regimen of antibiotics.

If the blood clot cannot form over the extraction area, a painful condition can occur, called dry socket. Dry socket can cause significant, intense, throbbing pain, and the socket must receive a dental dressing. To avoid dry socket, refrain from spitting, swishing, using straws, cigarettes, or anything else that might dislodge the blood clot.

You are unlikely to experience any complications during your recovery if you follow the proper care instructions you receive from Dr. Wightman and Dr. Slovan. Call our office immediately if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, or develop a fever during your recovery period.

Have more questions?

Check out our Parent’s Corner to find additional resources and more frequently asked questions or call our Tacoma office at Tacoma Office Phone Number 253-473-0651 or our Puyallup office at Puyallup Office Phone Number 253-799-1525.