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How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth surgery?

Dr. Loetscher often gets asked about the recovery from third molar (wisdom teeth) surgery. In general, it is a pretty quick recovery. Most of our patients experience a little bit of pain and swelling that usually goes away in the next day or so. Dr. Loetscher does a lot of these surgeries on Fridays and most of our patients are ready to go back to school/work on Monday. One the advantages of coming to Dr. Loetscher, he has additional training in anesthesia, and can offer full general anesthesia as done in a hospital setting, rather than just offering deep sedation. This provides a safe airway, for complete patient comfort. Little to none of our patients have complications with dry sockets etc. because Dr. Loetscher takes the extra time to put in sutures which closes the surgery site to prevent food and other bacteria from getting in the site.

“Hello, Dr. Loetscher here. So, I want to talk a little bit about recovery from third molar surgery, you know, of your wisdom teeth, which we do quite a bit of. And a lot of it’s on children, you know, high school aged kids and college students. And so, we do these in the office. We put you to sleep for it, and you stay here for about 30 minutes afterwards, and you walk out the door and go home, and you’re a little groggy that day. Quite often, you’ll go home and take a nap.

A couple things that a lot of people think a lot about are the swelling and the discomfort, so we do a lot of these on Fridays. In most cases, you’re going back to school on Monday. As far as the swelling goes, you’re going to get some puffy cheeks the next day. Like on Saturday and Sunday, it’s about the same, and by Monday, it improves quite a bit, that you can go back to class. We do give you an ice pack to wear, which helps a lot with the swelling.

As far as the pain control, we actually are pretty good with that nowadays. We actually give you some Novocaine that keeps it numb for about 8 or 10 hours. That helps a lot. That gets you through the day, and by the time that wears off, most of the pain is gone. You’ll have a couple kinds of pain medication. We use Motrin, about 600 milligrams of Ibuprofen. We also give patients a prescription for a narcotic. And most people use the Motrin and maybe a little bit of narcotic to it the next day or two if they need to. But for most patients, they’ll look back at this and say, “Oh, those weren’t painful.” They’ll just remember puffy cheeks for a couple of days. So, the next day, people, they do some exercise. You go to movies with your friends, you know, swimming in the pool if it’s the summertime, the next day. You’re just going to have some puffy cheeks.

As far as your eating goes, the day we do it, where you’re numb, you need to eat softer foods, but the next day, the Novocaine’s worn off and you can have sandwiches, pizza, and you can eat most foods. You just need to avoid popcorn kernels or bacon bits on salads for about a week, and maybe you’ll want a straw for about a day or two.

So, in general, it’s a pretty quick recovery for most kids, and they just remember that they’re going to have puffy cheeks for a couple of days, and they go see their friends the next day, if they’re up for it. And everybody is a little bit different. Sometimes you need a couple days more than that, but it’s a pretty quick recovery.”

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