Pain Management After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

An X-ray showing impacted wisdom teeth.

According to the Mayo Clinic, wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to come in (generally between the ages of 17 and 25). Many dental specialists recommend removing all wisdom teeth (even the ones not causing problems) no later than your 20’s. This is generally recommended because younger people have a lower risk of complications, and wisdom teeth can always develop problems later on. Keep reading to learn more about pain management and post-surgical care after wisdom teeth removal.

Are you looking for tooth removal in Las Vegas? Check out Absolute Dental for wisdom tooth extractions and thorough care afterward (844) 8‑SMILE‑NOW
(844) 876‑4536

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Painful?

Wisdom teeth extractions can range from mild soreness to pretty severe pain. This all depends on the patient, how extensive the procedure was, and how well you follow your post-operative care.

What Are Dry Sockets?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a dry socket is a painful condition in which the blood clot from the surgical site becomes dislodged, exposing the bone. Dry sockets are preventable if you follow post-op care.

How Long Should Pain Last After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

How long the pain lasts after wisdom tooth extraction varies depending on the extent of the surgery. The Cleveland Clinic notes that most patients experience the most pain, swelling, and discomfort on the third or fourth day after surgery. After this, the pain and swelling should decrease gradually. If the pain and swelling continue, contact your Las Vegas dentist ASAP, as you may have an infection.

What if I Decide To Keep My Wisdom Teeth?

Discuss the best route for maintaining your oral health with your dentist before deciding.

If your dentist has decided that your wisdom teeth fit properly in your mouth, aren’t causing any pain, and aren’t risking an infection, you may decide to forgo surgery. In this case, the American Dental Association recommends that wisdom teeth be monitored continuously (at least once a year — more if you experience pain). Even if wisdom teeth aren’t causing alignment issues, they may still cause issues later as you age since they are more difficult to keep clean. For this reason, some patients decide (and some dentists recommend) that they be removed when a patient is younger.

Tips and Tricks for Pain Relief After Wisdom Teeth Removal

The best thing for pain relief after wisdom teeth removal is to follow your dentist’s directions exactly. Here are some other dos and don’ts:

  • DO: Take all post-op medication as directed (including antibiotic mouthwash if prescribed)
  • DO: Ice your cheeks for 20 minutes several times a day to reduce pain/swelling
  • DO: Rest for at least a full day after the procedure, then avoid strenuous activity for a week (dry socket risk)
  • DO: Drink plenty of water after surgery, but DON’T use straws for a week as this can pull the blood clot from the incision
  • DO: Eat only soft foods such as apple sauce, yogurt, soup, broth, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, smoothies, pudding, etc. for 5-7 days
  • DO: Keep the wound clean, but … DON’T: Brush your teeth, gargle, or spit excessively for 24 hours (dry socket risk)
  • DO: Resume brushing, flossing, and using mouth rinses after 24 hours while being extremely gentle and careful around the surgical site. Keeping the whole mouth clean is vital to avoiding infection.
  • DON’T: Drink caffeine, alcohol, hot, or carbonated beverages for 24 hours as these can affect clotting
  • DON’T: Smoke for 72 hours (longer if possible)
  • DON’T: Chew tobacco for at least a week
  • DON’T: Chew gum, eat crunchy, hard, spicy, or chewy foods for at least a week
  • DON’T: Exercise, lift anything heavy, or do anything too strenuous for at least a week

Pain relief for wisdom teeth removal can be quite manageable when patients follow their doctor’s post-op care precisely. If you’re still looking for general dentistry services, reach out to Absolute Dental, where you’ll also find several options for braces for kids. 

Are you looking for extensive dental care in Nevada for the whole family? Make an appointment with Absolute Dental today at either Las Vegas, NV. or Reno, NV. locations (844) 8‑SMILE‑NOW
(844) 876‑4536


Wisdom Teeth. (n.d.).
Wisdom Teeth Removal. (2023).
Wisdom Tooth Removal. (2024).

About the Author

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Dr. Joan Landron

Currently serving the community at Absolute Dental since August 2008, Dr. Joan Landron graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1997.

She further honed her skills with a general practice residency at Metropolitan Hospital and underwent specialized training at New York University’s Implant Program for General Practitioners. Specializing in services such as X-rays, examinations, cleanings, crowns, and more, Dr. Landron brings a comprehensive approach to general and cosmetic dentistry, including implants.

A proud member of the American Dental Association, Nevada Dental Association, and Southern Nevada Dental Association, she cherishes her free time by spending moments with family, reading, and maintaining her health through exercise. Dr. Landron takes immense pride in being a part of the Absolute Dental team and is dedicated to her patients at the Absolute Dental – Nellis in Las Vegas, ensuring they receive the best care possible.

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