Tips and Tricks for Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Extraction

woman smiling

You’ve recently had your wisdom teeth extracted. And hopefully things are going smoothly. But no matter how well prepared you are, a post-op refresh can always help. If you want to know the best way to handle the aftercare, Dr. Cathleen Coyne has great tips, tricks and suggestions that can help you speed up the healing and better manage discomfort.

Recovery is often simple. For many patients, it lasts only a few days. Here are some do’s, some don’ts, and some call-the-offices to make your recovery as effective as possible.


  • Use baggies of ice or ice packs to reduce swelling for the first 36 hours. (Never put ice directly on the skin.) After 36 hours, ice is no longer beneficial.
  • Moist heat after 36 hours can help with ongoing swelling, as well as stiffness or mild pain in the jaw.
  • Use an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Do not use them both.)
  • Restrict your activities, at least the day of, until you feel well enough to resume.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and introduce soft foods slowly.
  • Beginning the day after surgery, rinse with warm salt water frequently. Don’t spit, just lean over the sink and let the water flow out.
  • Use lip ointment to heal or prevent chapped or cracked lips.
  • Manage bleeding by changing gauze as needed. You can also use a moistened black tea bag to reduce bleeding.
  • Keep the mouth, including the extraction site, clean.


  • Sip through a straw
  • Spit
  • Rinse the day of surgery
  • Smoke
  • Panic if you have a slight fever or blood on a pillowcase. (Protect your pillowcase with an old towel for a night or two.)
  • Brush hard at the incision site

Call If:

  • Dry socket occurs. (This happens if a blood clot gets dislodged prematurely. Pain at the site or near the ear could indicate this has occurred.)
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • Over-the-counter medication is not controlling the pain.
  • Numbness that lasts past the first day.
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop when gauze and pressure are applied.
  • Pus or blood from the nose.

Your mouth is like no one else’s. That means your experience is unique to you. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Coyne. You know your body best. And the compassionate staff at Coyne Oral Surgery is happy to address your concerns or answer any question to ensure the best possible experience in your oral surgery recovery.

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