Restorative |4 min read

Your Guide to Dos and Don’ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

A patient being prepared for wisdom tooth extraction

Have you ever had your wisdom teeth extracted? 

If not, you might check with your dentist to see if you need to. 

These so-called ‘wisdom’ teeth, the last molars to erupt, often don’t have enough room to emerge or grow properly, which can cause problems. 

A wisdom tooth extraction is a standard solution, but what happens after? What are the dos and don’ts after a wisdom tooth extraction? 

Don’t worry. This guide will explain why it may be necessary, the process, and aftercare tips.

Why are wisdom teeth extracted

First, let’s understand why wisdom teeth are often removed. 

Wisdom teeth, known as third molars, usually emerge in your late teens or early twenties. They can sometimes cause overcrowding, infection, or pain, and that’s when dentists suggest extraction.

The extraction procedure

The extraction procedure is relatively straightforward. After numbing the area, your Columbus dentist or oral surgeon will remove the tooth and stitch the site if necessary. 

Afterward, following some dos and don’ts for a swift recovery is advised.

The dos after wisdom tooth extraction

In the recovery period, your actions can significantly affect the healing process. 

Here are things you should do post-surgery:

  • Rest and recovery: A day or two of complete rest is necessary. Overexerting yourself can disrupt the healing process, so take it easy and enjoy some downtime.
  • Medication management: Take all prescribed medication on schedule to manage pain and prevent infection. Never skip your medicine or alter the dosage without consulting your dentist.
  • Proper hydration: Drink plenty of water post-extraction. It aids in recovery and prevents dehydration, but avoid hot drinks as they may dissolve the clot, leading to a painful condition known as a dry socket.
  • Consuming soft foods: Consume soft, easy-to-eat foods. Opt for soups, smoothies, or mashed potatoes. It’s easy on your extraction site and ensures proper nutrition for faster healing.
  • Ice pack application: Apply an ice pack to the affected area. This simple remedy can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

The don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction

Now that we’ve covered the dos, let’s move on to what you shouldn’t do after wisdom tooth extraction:

  • Avoiding physical exertion: Avoid heavy workouts and strenuous activities. They can increase blood flow to the mouth, risking clot dislodgement and bleeding.
  • Abstaining from smoking and alcohol: Steer clear of tobacco and alcohol. They can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of complications.
  • Steering clear of solid foods: Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that may irritate the extraction site and slow healing.
  • Using straws: Avoid straws as the suction can dislodge the blood clot and trigger a dry socket.
  • Preventing dry socket: Avoid touching the extraction site with your tongue or finger. This can lead to infection or dry sockets.

Post-extraction symptoms to watch for 

It’s also important to be aware of the typical post-extraction symptoms and warning signs of complications:

  • Typical symptoms: Some bleeding, swelling, and discomfort are normal after extraction. However, these symptoms should improve with time.
  • Warning signs: Persistent pain, severe swelling, fever, or pus from the extraction site warrants immediate medical attention. Don’t hesitate to contact your oral health care provider if you notice these signs.


How long does it take to recover from a wisdom tooth extraction?

Typically, it takes about two weeks to recover fully, but the initial healing of the wound usually occurs within a few days.

What happens if I smoke after a wisdom tooth extraction?

Smoking can delay healing, increase the risk of dry sockets, and cause infections.

Can I drink alcohol after wisdom tooth extraction?

Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours, as it can interfere with the healing process and the effect of your medications.

What should I eat after wisdom tooth extraction?

Opt for soft and liquid foods such as soups, yogurt, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs.

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket is a painful condition when the blood clot at the extraction site gets dislodged or dissolves before the wound has healed.


Understanding the dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction can make your recovery swift and smooth. 

Take proper care, follow the advice of your healthcare provider, and you’ll be back to your usual self in no time.


Lance Collier, DMD, LLC is located in Columbus, GA, and we happily welcome folks from neighboring areas.