What to Expect from Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Wisdom teeth removal is a fairly common procedure, but you might be wondering what to expect the day of and the days following surgery. At Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we put our patients at ease by sharing these facts about the procedure itself:

You won’t feel pain during the surgery. Depending on a number of factors, you will receive local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or sedation anesthesia through an intravenous line in your arm. Whether you remain conscious throughout the procedure or not, you won’t feel pain during surgery.

The process is simple. Our surgeons remove any bone that blocks the wisdom teeth, remove the teeth in pieces or intact, clean the site, and stitch the wounds. Afterward, gauze is placed over the extraction site to help clots form.  

After surgery, here are a few symptoms you might experience:

  • Swelling – You’ll likely see some swelling in your lower cheeks, sides of your face, or even the eye area, which can be reduced with cold compresses or ice packs. This might peak a few days after the surgery and should go down from there.  A steroid medication is given intravenously at the start of the surgery that significantly reduces postoperative pain, severe swelling or bruising, and nausea and vomiting.
  • Stiff jaw – This might last a few days or longer than a week.
  • Sensitivity – The wisdom teeth sockets might feel a bit tender and sensitive.
  • Bleeding – During the first day, you might experience some bleeding, so keep cotton gauze handy and bite down on it as needed to prompt clotting. Bleeding varies from patient to patient, so we encourage patients to call us if they’re concerned.
  • Soreness – You can expect a manageable amount of pain in the gums and jaw area.

If you follow our recommended recovery procedures, you should be back to your normal self soon. Here are a few tips that will help you heal quickly and without issue:

  • Don’t spit. The day after surgery, you should avoid excessive spitting. This is to ensure clots form at the socket.
  • Don’t brush. Brushing your teeth immediately after surgery should be avoided, as it can damage your stitches. Wait to brush for at least a day.
  • Nothing too hot or cold. Avoid food or drinks that are very hot or very cold, as they can disrupt clots and cause bleeding.
  • Get plenty of rest. Wisdom teeth removal is a minor procedure, but it is a surgery nonetheless. The after effects of anesthesia might make you feel more tired than usual.
  • No strenuous exercise. After 24 hours post-surgery, you should be able to resume normal activity, but until your sockets are properly clotted, avoid strenuous activity.
  • Drink plenty of water, but not through a straw. Stay hydrated, but avoid caffeinated, carbonated, or hot drinks as well as drinking through a straw, as the sucking can dislodge clots from their sockets.
  • Soft foods only. Save the nuts or beef jerky for later. Stick to soft foods for the first day or two, and slowly start eating foods you normally enjoy as your wounds heal.
  • No smoking or drinking. Avoid alcohol and tobacco products while you’re healing. These can cause complications.

Wisdom teeth surgery is usually straightforward and recovery should be rapid. If you have questions about the process or would like to schedule a consultation, call us: Hackensack: 201.343.8297, Westwood: 201.664.5656, or Ridgewood: 201.444.4137.