Wisdom teeth recovery

Inquiétude vis-à-vis les dents de sagesseYour dentist said that you need to remove your wisdom teeth? Don’t panic, lots of people have to go through this procedure. But knowing what to expect after the surgery can help you calm down and recover more easily.

Your dentist has, or will explain all that, but let’s go through the recovery instructions in details:

  • Eat a light meal an hour or two before your appointment. Do you go to your appointment with an empty stomach, and do not eat a very heavy meal if you will have intravenous sedation.
  • Make sure you have a couple of days off after your appointment to rest after the surgery.
  • If you took medications or if the dentist used sedation, make sure there is someone who will drive you home after.
  • After the procedure, leave the gauze in your mouth and bite on it for pressure, do this for at least 30 minutes or the time that your mouth bleeds.
  • If the bleeding persists for more the 30 minutes, or if it starts again later in the evening, use more gauze, or bite down on a wet tea bag which works even better. Tannic acid found in tea helps reduce bleeding. It is normal if you wake up the following day and that your saliva is reddish from blood.
  • For the first 24 hours, eat soft foods that are not too warm nor too cold.
  • Rinse with warm water and sea salt, but starting 24 hours after your wisdom teeth have been removed, not the same day. The recipe is 1 teaspoon of sea salt in 1 glass (250 ml) of warm water.
  • Use ice the first 24 hours on your face to reduce the swelling. If you do not have ice, use bags with frozen vegetables instead. If the procedure was difficult, swelling will occur and you might also see colour change on the skin.
  • Have a couple of pillows under your head when sleeping. This will help reduce the swelling.
  • Take your antibiotics and pain killers as prescribed by your dentist.
  • Do not smoke for 48 to 72 hours! Smoking introduces toxins to the extraction site and can also dislodge the clots, which can cause dry socket.
  • Do not use a straw to sip on liquids, as the pressure caused from the sipping can also dislodge clots and lead to dry socket.
  • Do not spit, as the pressure can also dislodge the clots. If there is blood in your mouth, let it flow down your mouth and then wipe your lips.
  • Do not play sports for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Do not use mouthwash for 24 hours.

After one week, you should feel much better. Your gums will slowly get back to normal, and some people might feel like it’s totally healed. But put in mind the total healing time takes about 3 months, and during that time food can be stuck in the sockets and you need to rinse with salted water to clean them.


128 thoughts on “Wisdom teeth recovery”

  1. Hey Dr.

    I just saw my oral surgeon and he wants to cut the crown off my lower left wisdom tooth leaving the root in so not to damage the nerve. My questions are if the root can stay in then why does anything need to be removed at all? Also why not just pull the molars to make room for the wisdom teeth?? I always wondered why this wasn’t done since it seems like it would solve the problem with a lot less trauma to the mouth. Also does cutting the crown off involve a larger incision, longer recovery, and more pain?

    1. Hi Jen,

      About your question of if the root can stay, why does anything need to be removed. Maybe your wisdom tooth has already pierced the gum, or it’s about to. When this happens and the tooth is not 100% out, it becomes very tough to clean and can lead to infections. That’s why it should be removed. Also maybe your wisdom tooth inclined and the crown is pushing on your other molar. In that case extraction is to avoid damage to the other molar.

      When you pull another molar, it is not guaranteed that the wisdom tooth will eventually taken it’s place and there is the risk of you losing 2 teeth instead of one.

  2. Hi Doc,

    Its 2 weeks since I had both my upper and lower wisdom teeth removed from my left side. The upper one has healed well and the socket is closing up nicely. However, the bottom one, although not really hurting, seems like there is a protrusion and at times, has a pricking sensation. It has that feeling like when a popcorn kernel is caught in the throat. I am being on top with cleaning and hygiene from the beginning. Even now I do not chew on my left side and rinse immediately with warm water after eating. The hole is still present and so I am cautious about getting food in. However, I cannot wrap my head around why I feel this pricking in the throat intermittently. Also, it seems like this has sort of increased since past two days when my period also started. Are they related? Is this normal to feel this prick while healing? Please share any information you have. Thank you!

    1. Hello GeeP,

      The bottom jaw takes longer to heal than the upper one as the bone is denser. The total time for proper healing is between 3 and 4 months. But if you are feeling something in your throat on the side of where your tooth was removed, and if it has just started 2 weeks after, I would have it checked by your dentist just to make sure.

      Until then, I would just add some salt to the the warm water your are rinsing with after each meal. It is normal that you still feel a hole.

      About if your period is relation to all this, I don’t think so, but I am not totally sure (sorry)

  3. Hello Dr, I had a lower molar extraction on my right side on Monday September 15th 2014. I am still feeling a bit of pain, but nothing tylenol or advil can’t help. My mouth feels sore on that side, and my gum around the area seems to be a little swollen. I have been careful and followed all instructions. But the second day of my extraction I tried to eat a little on my left side and I followed with warm salt water to flush out any food. Although when I looked into the gaping hole where the tooth was extracted I saw like a brownish greyish, with a little itty bitty yellow on it. I still have that in there, and when I use the syringe to clean it out, it doesn’t come out. Food particles of the prior meal do, but that thing is just in there. Sometimes with the pressure of the syringe water it moves, but it never dislodges. I do not know if that is the clot, or if I have to take it out? help!

  4. hello Dr anto Youssef I just had a toothache on August 25 around 1 am only a little pain but after I woke up pain got worse this was the Left side of my wisdom tooth on the jaw – I took Liquid orajel 20 percent Benzocain – it took the pain away but there was a side affect I got from using that orajel swelling in my check area and its only been 1 day so far that I had this swelling – although I cant afford to pay to get my wisdom teeth taken out – is there any household items I could use to reduce the swelling my guess is ice or something – the swelling doesn’t hurt if I font touch it but it does when I do – its probly abou the size of a 2 inches wide any tips would be appreciated

    1. Hello Matthew, you can rinse with salted water or Listerine. The swelling might be coming from you wisdom tooth, maybe it’s an infection, even if there is no pain.

      I know that you mentioned you can’t afford a dentist. But having your tooth checked by a dentist sounds like a very good idea, because he or she can help you better than I can. You might also need antibiotics if the swelling comes from an infection.

  5. Hey Dr,
    I had my wisdom teeth removed on this past monday…all 4 of them, mainly due to the fact that i had serve pain on the left side of my mouth because i had seemed to broke a wisdom tooth. So i went in for an appt and was told to get them all take out cause they were going to start causing my problems, I did just that, got them removed about a week later ( Monday ) Now being Saturday, im happy to say that all but 1 of my spots in my mouth currently dont hurt, the left side is completely fine, but the right bottom side kills…a driving shooting pain that doesnt get any relief by pain meds any longer, my friends wife is a Nurse, says i dont have a dry socket but seen there was food packed in the socket, so she cleaned it out with the thing they gave me at the dentist, told me the pain would go away..well she was wrong..Pain is still there and hurts badly, also to top it off, it seems ive lost a stitch on the bottom right side of my mouth aswell….Now my wife tells me that the doctor had to cut into my jaw bone and took alot more work to get that tooth out, but my question is..What can i do for the pain when Motrin and other pain meds dont work? Can i use Orajel to numb the area and hopefully move past this phase?

  6. I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed on the 21st, and everything has been pretty good, even though I’m still a little bit swollen. Except that now it seems like I can’t help myself from talking with a lisp! It is sort of embarrassing! Is this normal? When will it go away? Thanks!

  7. I just got my bottom right wisdom tooth out 5-6 days ago. All they had to do is just cut a small slit, take the tooth out and take some tissue out. My teeth/gums on the right side feel sore and my cheek is very sore. I also have a white film on my gums. One more thing behind where the tooth was taken out I have a small white lump on my gums. Is all this normal?

  8. Hi, I had a wisdom tooth surgically extracted about two weeks ago. Everything seems to be normal except for the tingling in my tongue. It feels as if it was burned by a hot drink. What worries me the most is that it seems to have my teeth marked on the sides. Is this normal?

    1. J, you might be experiencing temporary paresthesia, which is loss of the feeling of a nerve. Very rarely it can be permanent. I suggest you go back to your dentist to verify it, and also to verify the marks on the sides of your teeth.

  9. Hi Dr. Youssef,

    I was hoping for a little advice as to what I can do here. I’ll give you my story, I’m sorry for the length.

    On December 21 I had both my lower wisdom teeth extracted. One was impacted, and the other was also removed at the recommendation of both my regular dentist and the oral surgeon that I met with. The extraction itself was rather difficult. I had IV sedation (I was totally aware, awake, and responsive, but there was no pain during the procedure). The surgeon commented that my bones were very hard and that both of the teeth had to be cut into pieces instead of being yanked out. He has been doing this for 40 years and said it was a very difficult extraction.

    Anyway, the recovery was hard but I was progressing. I was doing everything by the book, and did not miss any antibiotics or do anything out of line (I do not smoke, and I did not drink out of a straw, swish vigorously, etc). Unfortunately I still got an infection on the left side. I went back to the surgeon in early January and he reopened the area, cleaned all the pus and gunk out, and scraped the socket to remove the infection. Despite shooting me all over the place with novacaine, this was the worst and most traumatic experience of my life. I felt everything, and it was like a horror movie. I am a 30 year old male and I was crying like a baby both during and after. The surgeon was expecting to find something in the hole, like a piece of bone, food, or something. Unfortunately he didn’t find ANYTHING. We’re hoping that something was actually in there and got sucked up in the suction without them seeing it. Otherwise, there is no explanation for why there was an infection. However, I was glad to at least have it over, and be back on track to recovery. I went through 10 days of 2x 875mg Amoxicillin.

    In the weeks that followed, I continued to successfully irrigate both holes to get the food and crud out that built up. The right hole (the one that did NOT get infected) was actually much bigger and much deeper, so it was a little harder to clean. While I was at work on Friday January 18, I was irrigating the right hole like normal (with an irrigation syringe), when I felt a huge shot of pain all the way from my socket to my ear drum. After the pain subsided, I was left with my cheek feeling “full.” It is a very hard sensation to describe. I felt like my cheek, the back of my mouth, and my gums (both upper and lower) were full of something. I know this is not what actually happened, but it felt like the water I shot into the socket flew all the way up my face and remained stuck in there, all the way up near my ear. Although there was some pain, it was mainly a major discomfort. Also FYI, although I had all these feelings on the inside, I did not notice any actual swelling or anything on noticeable on the outside. It apparently was all the inside.

    The extreme discomfort continued but thankfully I was able to get some sleep. In the morning, the pain and discomfort seemed to be mostly gone, but then as the day went on it came back again, in the same way (feels full in my cheek, gums, rear mouth, etc), and it almost feels like somebody is pulling on my gums. Over the next couple days the same thing kept happening: feels somewhat ok (not 100%, but decent) in the morning, worse as the day wears on. I wouldn’t describe it as total pain, but definitely major discomfort. If I try to irrigate the area the pain and major symptoms come back immediately, so I have totally stopped the irrigation on the right side (the left side is healed to the point where I don’t need to use it at all).

    Thankfully I had another follow-up appointment with the surgeon already scheduled for January 21. I explained to the surgeon what happened, and he took a Panorex, and examined the site. He said everything seems to be healing well, and there is no swelling or other signs of the infection returning. He did not discount my symptoms, but from what he could see there was nothing that should be causing this. He even sent me upstairs to my regular dentist (they are in the same building) and they took some other x-rays and examined me as well, with the same result.

    I’m at a big loss here. I am terrified of the original infection returning on my left side (since they didn’t find anything in there the first time), and now I’ve got this extreme continued discomfort in the right side of my face for most of the day. I find myself twitching the right side of my jaw trying to get this discomfort to go away, but of course nothing seems to be working.

    Does anybody have any ideas as to what the heck is going on here? This has been a total nightmare from start to finish, and I really just want this to be over

    Sorry for the long message, and thanks for reading.

    1. Dave, sorry it took me so long to answer, I was away.

      I think you have been through a complicated extraction, and you might have got dry socket that needed a second surgery.

      About the time you were at the office and you were injecting the extraction site, there might have been a bit more pressure than needed, and some nerve received that pressure causing you pain.

      If your surgeon said that everything looks good on the panorex, I would thing that the symptoms are subsiding with you.

  10. What are , if there are, stages of mandibular paraesthesia healing? Mine went from complete numbness to pins and needles within a few days after wisdom tooth ectraction, for 4 weeks almost to a non existent tingling, the last 2 weeks, a feeling of tightness, heaviness and stiffness in the lower half lip/chin/gum/teeth area in the front… Saw oral surgeon and a maxilofacial specialist a few days ago… been having 2 week followups with surgeon and will have a monthly followup with the specialist who did the sensation feeling tests… and sayd because I felt the downward brush (not the pricks)… it shows some sign but that it could take months… I forgot to ask the stages of healing.. ?? Do you know?? What are indications of healing… PS: the area of numbness has SLIGHTLY diminished…

      1. Not yet.. but it’s been going thru SO many changes.. I can feel when my lips/chin are touched.. like someone is running a feather over it.. and if I drink something hot, or cold it feels like it’s being poured over my lips… weird!! Right now.. the sensations are returning.. I would say about 70% back… but so weird feeling.. like a tightness / stiffness.. and the lip in that area is so sensitive to salt! OMG! WEIRD!!!!!

  11. hi, i had my all wisdom teeth removed on the 20th and i used the syringe to rinse today because my doctor had told me i had the beginning stages of an infection (i had a sore throat, and slight pain in my ear) but i had no pain in my jaw. When i rinsed with the syringe blood began to come out of one of my sockets and i was wondering if it is normal? also the side that has both the sore throat and the ear pain, the right, has a small amount of liquid oozing from it.

  12. Dr. Anto Youseff,

    I had 4 wisdom teeth removed on 12/3/12. On the fifth day or so I started to have excruciating pain. I continued to take 400mg of Ibuprofen, every 4 hours to keep the pain “manageable” until my follow up on Monday 12/10/12. I advised my oral surgeon about the pain that I was having. He briefly looked in my mouth, irrigated my sockets with saline solution, told me everything was fine and sent me on my way (I was in his office for about 6 minutes total). Here it is 12/17. Every day has been worse and worse. I feel like I am on a journey into the everlasting darkness. I have a pain like I have not ever experienced in my life. It causes me to be irrational, highly agitated, and sometimes I even flinch when the pain throbs. I pop ibuprofen like skittles. No pain relief what so ever. When I lay down to go to sleep, the pain jumps up another 100% which leaves me often paralyzed staring at the ceiling or pacing my room until I become exhausted. Using the irrigation syringe causes me pain. Warm salt water is a cardinal sin. The only thing that gives me REMOTELY close to some type of relief is cold water. I sat at my sink swishing cold water for an hour earlier. I know that I don’t need to take any more medicine. My throat has a burning feeling to it from taking a pill without water due to the pain and me not thinking. My lymph nodes aren’t swollen, I’m not running a fever. WHY DO I FEEL SO CLOSE TO DEATH?

      1. Hello, I was trying to find this to reply on it, I hadn’t checked my email in a while..
        I ended up having a Dry Socket, that also had food dislodged in it for a Double Whammy. I ended up going though it for 2 weeks. The dentist ended up taking me in on an emergency appt, because I was in debilitating pain. He filled my socket with some minty stuff, I went back got that stuff removed and then he put something else in there. I still have numbness under my lip tho, but its going away over time.

  13. Hi Dr!

    Thank you so much for this website!
    I recently had 4 wisdom teeth removed in hospital on 5th December 2012.

    I’m still in quite a lot of pain. My tongue is swollen on one side, I have trouble swallowing and I can’t completely close my jaw (so that my teeth are touching).

    I am still very swollen, I’ve brushed my teeth but haven’t washed it with salt water. My cheeks are very swollen I think this is the reason I can’t close my mouth because my teeth get the cheek in the middle.

    Is this all normal? When will I feel some relief? Is there anything else I can do?

    1. Hi Michael, I am sorry you are going through this, but the swelling is normal. It should get to its maximum around the 4th day after surgery and then slowly start getting back to normal. I suggest to put ice on the outside of your cheeks and take your prescribed medication as indicated.

      1. Thank you doctor!
        I’m am quite worried. I don’t know why half my tongue is swollen and numb. I have washed my mouth with salt water numerous times a day. It doesn’t feel as though the swelling or numbness is going away. I am nearly at my 4th day.
        Is there anything I can do?
        I mean when I look into my mouth the swelling is kind of around my other teeth as well. Do I try and separate that when I brush? And rinse?
        Should it be like this?

  14. Hi.. I have been reading endlessly on tons of articles regarding paraesthesia from wisdom tooth exraction (mine is mandibular) I am a 47 yr old female, good health, had to have my lower left wisdom tooth removed because it broke in half (tho I was not having any pain, but my dentist wanted it out to prevent complications in the future) and sent me to an oral surgeon. Very nice doc.. I asked for general anesthesia but he put me halfway saying I will still be awake but in lala land… it was over before I knew it… the first night I was sore and anticipating the numbness to wear off , but the oxycodene made me nauseas and I refused to take anymore meds (the amoxicillin as well). u til the next morning when I felt all better no pain but the numbness stayed .. my lower half lip, gums and chin…. about an inch n half section… freaking me out.. dr saw me the next morning told me it might take time, be patient.. rarely is it permanent.. and put me on the methylprednisolone pack and motrin. It is now Day 5… all along I have been feeling tingling and pins n needles which I read is a good sign but now I feel some throbbing… in the gum section in the front. My incision site feels just fine…. IS THIS GOOD NEWS?? What are the indications I am healing? What are good and better signs as vs worse signs? I have a follow up on Thursday morning (which will be one week post)… I appreciate any advice and comments!!!! 🙂

    1. Maria, yes I think it is good news. As your doctor said rarely it is permanent. But please put in mind that sometimes it does take months before it comes back. I hope it won’t take that long for you.

      1. Doc,

        i am having same issue, its been 6 months now. tingling in lower left side of the tongue. Tingling get very high when i run in gym or play volleyball. do i have to reduce my activities or not do them ? or its fine ?

        everywhere i read they say it will recover and after six months it has improved a lot but eversince i started running the tingling has gone up.

        Appreciate your help.


  15. Hi, I had all 4 wisdom teeth extracted exactly two weeks ago via surgery and I’m wondering if high saliva production and pain in the right side of my tongue when I move it or chew is normal? I’m kind of worried since I don’t know the healing process for oral procedures and I don’t know if this is normal or not.

  16. Hi Dr Youssef,
    So, out of the 6 teeth I had pulled I ended up getting a dry socket. The surgeon had me come in and he put in a gauze covered with some yellow stuff. I’m still having pain, not as bad as before, but the side of my head is still tender and my jaw, ear, and below my eye. Is it possible that there might be another dry socket? Also, he told me to come back on Monday, I had this put in yesterday. But if I’m still in pain, what should I do? I feel like I am bothering them with all my concerns. I guess I’m concerned because the left side hasn’t been painful, tender, or swollen. And the right side has been quite the opposite.

      1. How long does it take to go away? I ran out of pain meds and the doc told me to take 800mg of Ibuprofen until I see them on Monday. I don’t know if that’s going to work, so I might go and see my family doctor tomorrow. But how long will it take to not hurt so bad? The other side is fine, but I have my 1st molar on top and 2nd molar on bottom and am doing my chewing on the side with the dry socket. Even the gums are very tender. Such a difference from side to side!

        1. I hope the pain goes away sooner than later. But ibuprofen 800 3 times a day is already a strong pain killer. If it’s not enough I suggest to see your doctor to prescribe narcotics maybe. Your doctor might find the best thing for you.

          1. I’ve read that you can be in pain for weeks, is that true? Or is that only if left untreated? And what is on the gauze? Will it hurt when it comes out? And again, thank you SO much for this site and for being so vigilant in responding quickly! I am very grateful and I’m sure everyone else is as well!

          2. I am feeling much better and able to manage pain with 3 ibuprofen! And I have decided to get dental implants. Excited, but want to devour a burger before I start that process of a soft food diet again! Thank you so much Dr Youssef! You have been a life saver!

  17. Hi I was wondering if it is normal for only my bottem lip to still be numb? Its numb pretty much all the way to my jaw.. I got my surgury yesterday. Its just scaring me a bit

  18. Hi Dr Youssef,
    Firstly, thank you for the great blog 🙂
    I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth out last Friday 26th October 2012 and have since been experiencing severe numbness in my tongue. I know numbness is part of the normal recovery process, and I read one of the comments made on your blog previously about parasthesia, but am finding it very distressing and starting to panic that I will not have normal sensation again! Do you have any idea how long this should last? I cannot eat or speak properly at the moment. Thanks heaps.

    1. Lee-Ann, yes you seem to have paresthesia of your tongue. 99% of the times it is temporary and the sensation comes back from days to months after. I advise you to tell your dentist about it though.

      And by the way, thank you for your positive encouragement on my blog 🙂

  19. I just had all 4 wisdom teeth and 2 molars extracted with IV sedation. I’m wondering why my chin and bottom lip are still numb. It feels like Novocain is wearing off, but it hasn’t. How long will this last? Also, I feel completely fine, no swelling, pain, or stiffness. Can I go back to work tomorrow? I had surgery at 815am this morning.

    1. Numbness in my chin is gone. I smoke, but will quit for 2 days, like my doc said. I see you suggest 3. I will try for that as well. I don’t drink from a straw but am sucking the saliva from the back of my mouth up to swallow. I am worried this will cause a dry socket. It just is so gross letting it hang out back there. Can I brush my teeth 24 hours later, or just salt water rinse? And I’m a huge diet come drinker, when can I have that again? I’m also having some pain in my ears, is that normal as well? I love my surgeon who did the surgery and I think he did a fantastic job! I was so nervous and he grabbed my hand and told me that himself and his team will take great care of me! They gave me a mix of ivs that I remember counting five and then the blinds got fuzzy and I was out. No counting to 10 or anything. Is this normal now days or did I just respond faster than most? Also, how do they wake you up?

      1. Reanne, I am not specialized in IV sedation therefore I have never gone through the process myself. But the way you describe it is normal. I am not sure however how do they wake you up.

        You seem to know exactly what to do, brushing gently, not close to the sockets, rinsing with salted water 24 hours after surgery, not smoking for 3 days, etc. About the blood and saliva, can you try to let it flow out of your mouth, that way you won’t spit it and you won’t swallow it. And about diet coke, you can have some 🙂

      1. Yea, I’m not as well as I was yesterday. A lot of stiffness in my jaw and body in general. I’ll be staying home today as well.

        1. Sorry, one last thing. I have 2 teeth missing from each side on the top and the bottom. What do you suggest for replacements? A bridge isn’t possible because I don’t have teeth on both sides. My next option would be a partial, and then an implant. Are dental procedures cheaper in Canada than the US? I live in North Dakota so it’s a quick trip up there for me! Thank you so much for this open blog and not charging people to ask a doctor/dentist!

          1. Reanne I think dental implants are the best choice, then partials are another option. Prices in Canada are similar to the ones in the US. I don’t think it’s worth the trip. However we have wonderful landscapes and nice wilderness that are worth coming to visit!

  20. Dr. Youssef,

    My fiancee had a surgical extraction of his lower right wisdom tooth done yesterday at noon. He had went to the dentist the day before and was prescribed a pain medicine and an antibiotic because it was infected. He then was scheduled to have it removed the next day even though he would not have been cured of the infection yet. During the procedure the Dentist told him that the tooth was actually embedded into his jaw and that when he was pulling it out the root broke. He then had to dig further into his gums and was all of the way to the bone (As he so casually stated to his assistant during the procedure). After the procedure was finished he gave little to no instruction about how to care for this. Last night up until 8-9 o’clock he was still having heavy bleeding. After calling the Dr. on call he was instructed to do a saltwater rinse even though it had not been 24 hours since the surgery. That got the bleeding to slow but today he is still having some minor bleeding. Is this normal? He is also feeling some numbness still in his cheek. We have tried everything since then that was on your list and nothing seems to be calming the pain, swelling, or bleeding. Is there anything else we can do? Since he did rinse before the 24 hours was up is it more likely that he could have dry socket? Is it normal that it is still bleeding?

    1. After one day, it is normal to feel all those symptoms if the surgery was complicated. About the bleeding, did he try biting on a wet tea bag?

      For the pain, if your fiance is in good health, he can use ibuprofen 600 and Tylenol 500, taken each at 3 hours interval (example at 9 am take ibuprofen 600 only, at noon take Tylenol 500, at 3 pm take ibuprofen 600, and so on).

      Ibuprofen can also be Advil or Motrin. Tylenol can also be Paracetamol.

      1. Yes he did the moist tea bag but it continued to bleed. Now this morning it is barely bleeding but still is bloody when he spits (not actually spitting, letting it roll out)

  21. Dr. Youssef,
    Thank you for the great blog! It definitely has been a great resource for information since I got my wisdom teeth out last Friday (10/12).
    Rinsing my lower right extraction site with saltwater in a syringe just now was followed by quite a bit of bleeding. I’ve already been dealing with dry socket on the lower left, so I’m just hoping that this could be anything but the beginning of that again. At 8 days, I know the risk is significantly less, but what would you think caused the bleeding?
    Also, is there anything I can do to relieve pain from dry socket? Ibuprofen and ice have been my methods thus far.
    Again, thank you for many answers already, and I look forward to your reply!

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Firstly, thank you very much from your positive feedback 🙂

      About the blood, maybe it was gingivitis or gum irritation from the food debris that was stuck inside the socket. I suggest to rinse with the syringe only if you have food stuck in the socket, and to go gently.
      You are right, dry socket occurs rarely 8 days after an extraction, usually it’s between 3 to 5 days. But if it did, taking ibuprofen helps, usually ibuprofen 600 every 6 hours. The pain can still be more intense and ibuprofen might not be enough to control it, therefore your dentist can prescribe you something stronger.

      I hope this helps, but I mostly hope for you not to get dry socket. Please feel free to ask more questions.

  22. I have a question about blood clots and dry socket. I got my wisdom teeth out Friday. Its now 3 am Tuesday morning. I got a terrible cold right after the surgery and have been feeling awful. And I just threw up, but right after that I hacked up this slimy blood thing. I think the slimy part was just mucus from the cold, but the bloody part was dark red and sort of solid. Different consistency than the other stuff i coughed up. Afterwards I got nauseated again and threw up, and right after that my lower jaw where I.had one tooth removed started throbbing with pain. Not horrible pain, but not fun. Its been like 15 minutes and the pain is almost completely gone. Was that my clot that I saw? Am I going to get dry socket now?

    1. Katie it could have been the blood clot. What would be a sign of dry socket is that if the pain was slowly increasing. If it does through today then I recommend you to call your dentist and check for dry socket. If there is no pain today then that is good.

      I hope you feel better soon 🙂

  23. Hey. I have one question. I have my lower right wisdom tooth removed on Friday, 28.9. Now it is generaly much better I can eat more things, I’m not swelled anymore. However I feel time to time pain in my ear and in generaly around teeth on a right side of face. It’s not very hard pain, only in the evening. Otherwise I’m a bit worried that I got dry socket since I smoke, but I waited for 3 day like it is advised. Do you think that this pain in the ears is something serrious or it is normal?

    1. A.K., it’s been 5 days since your extraction, and the healing process takes weeks, so it’s normal to have mild pain like you are. If it becomes more intense though call your dentist.

  24. I got 3 wisdom teeth out 2 and a half weeks ago. My face swelling went down shortly after along with the pain. But this morning when I woke up one side of my face was more swollen than it was before and I’m in major pain. Why is this?

  25. Dr. Youssef,
    I’m in desperate need of advice. I had my wisdom teeth removed last friday and i for sure have parasthetia. Mine is on my chin and lower lip. I have none stop tingling of the chin and lower lip. It’s so painful and distracting i can’t concentrate at work. Today, on the 5th day I feel a slight burning sensation and my lip getting a little more swollen and “heavier”. It’s hard to tell if it’s improving. I’m more tingly than the first day. My jaw is starting to hurt, I have a slight soreness that goes all the way up to my ear which started today. I also felt a little fiverish. I’m rising with salt water and started with antiseptic today. I’m afraid it might be an infection which is why i started taking antibiotics today. I know there are amazing dentists out there and i thought mine was one of them. I’m not judging the quality of his work by what happened to me but rather his lack of care or concern when i spoke to him about it.
    Any word of advice regarding the parasthetia and the new pain would be greatly appreciated. This absolutely sucks, I don’t feel like myself and i’m so afraid I’ll be like this forever, i’ve cried myself to sleep.

    1. Juliet, did you express all those symptoms to your dentist? It sounds to me like you are experiencing paresthesia and also pain following wisdom teeth extraction. If this happened to one of my patients, I would do weekly follow ups to see if the sensation in your lip and your chin is coming back slowly.

  26. I got 4 wisdom teeth remove on wed the 12th, and I cannot stop sneezing after the surgery. I was put under and I don’t know if it has anything to do with that. All that I can find on the internet is to try not to sneeze and blow my nose, but I can’t help it! Why is this happening and how do i know if it has caused a dry socket?

  27. Hey there. Like most of your commenters, I’ve just had all of my wisdom teeth out yesterday. Everything is dandy, no swelling, not even taking my codeine. However, I also play the tenor sax and I was wondering if and for how long I should lay off the horn for my face to heal. I understand that the dry socket threats mostly come from suction on the wounds, but would there be a problem with playing a horn?

    1. Hugh,

      Yes playing wind instruments might increase the risk of dry socket. I would recommend that you don’t play either the saxophone or the horn for a week. I hope you don’t have an important concert soon 🙂

  28. Hi Dr Youssef,

    I just got my wisdom teeth extracted 5 days ago (aug 17th). Everything seems to be ok but I am still in a little bit of pain, especially in my lower extraction sites. I am VERY scared of getting dry socket but I do not smoke, have not drank through a straw or sucked hard, I’ve even very painfully stopped myself from sneezing and coughing on multiple occasions. Today when I was gently rinsing my mouth with salt water, a really strange looking black thing came out of my mouth! It was very dark and kind of looked like a dark piece of seaweed interms of thickness but it was about half the size of a dime. I did not bleed afterwards and I am not in significantly more pain. Do you think that it could have been a blood clot, and now I’m going to get dry socket? I also wanted to know why sometime when I swallow, my lower right socket hurts too? Also, when will I be out of the woods for getting dry socket? I just want to know when I can relax! I’ve tried to limit my diet to liquids only so no food gets stuck in my sockets. They still hurt a little bit if I don’t take Motrin and Tylenol together. Sorry I know these are a lot of questions but it would really put my mind at ease if you could answer some of my questions!


    1. Hello PK,

      What came out of your socket when you rinsed might have been food that was caught in the hole and couldn’t be removed while brushing. Are you experiencing more pain now? Any difficulty of opening your mouth? Those would be sings of dry socket.

      Also, dry sockets occur mostly between 3 and 5 days following dental extraction. I’ve seen it happen up to 7 days after extraction but it’s more rare.

  29. my boyfriend had a tooth pulled today and when doing so the root broke off for reasons the denist told me. But she left the broken root in my mouth due to not being able to get it out – stating in a few days it will come to surface and she would then remove the rest of this – is this normal when something happens like that?

    1. Jeremiah, it is not the ideal situation, but sometimes it can happen. Maybe the root was moving a bit but was very deep and the dentist didn’t want to do too much damage to the surrounding tissues to remove that remaining root.

  30. I got my wisdom teeth removed on Thursday morning (8-2-12), it is now Saturday morning (8-4-12). I’m worried because half of my tongue is still numb. After reading so much on the internet I am really starting to get worried that my tongue might have permanent damage. The only good thing is that I do feel some pain inside my tongue on the numb side when I try to eat. I was hoping this is a good sign?

    1. Brittany,

      What you have is paresthesia, which means that you are still numb after the normal time of anaesthesia (a few hours). When you have paresthesia, it can last from a few days to a few months. Permanent paresthesia is extremely rare. If you feel the front of your tongue a little than it’s a good sign that the numbness is gonna go away.

      1. Hello, I got my 2 impacted and 2 non impacted wisdom teeth out 48 hours ago. My whole mouth is rapidly repairing yet the left side of my tongue is still completely numb. I’m 17 and I’m incredibly worried after reading on many sites and including this one that it could be a very long process and for some permanent numbness. I’m very stressed about this and just need to hear from someone who has studied this or has experience with oral issues on what to do. Id like to know if there’s anything i can do to help the healing or pain of numbness… i keep biting my tongue yet i don’t mean to at all. Thanks very much.

        1. Forrest,

          What you have is paresthesia, which means that you are still numb after the normal time of anaesthesia (a few hours). When you have paresthesia, it can last from a few days to a few months. Permanent paresthesia is extremely rare. I recommend that you advise your dentist quickly about it.

          1. I went to an oral surgeon with 30 years of experience… best in the west coast. I never thought this could of happened. Thank you for the information its very much appreciated. Can it go away at any time just at random. Meaning “fix itself” or what not. Also are there any tips i can get from you to help with pain of numbness. its a burning that hurts alot, of coarse at this time im still in pain from the surgery. 1 more question sorry. But what is the usual amount of time it takes for people to be healed of paresthesia? or is it very random with anyone. Most people it goes away right after the surgery, im curious if its more likely i have it for monthds or weeks….. or what is truly the % of me having it permanently. I noticed on another post of yours you said that is happens 99% not to be permanent. Yet is that meaning 1 out of every 100 people? because that is a likely possibility correct? sorry for going on im just very worried and never knew that this could happen. THank you for your help. correct

          2. Paresthesia doesn’t happen because of lack of experience of the oral surgeon. It has happened to me a few times, maybe once a year, and the tongue sensation always came back.
            Please call your oral surgeon, he or she can tell you more about it because they actually did the surgery. Paresthesia can follow surgery or local anesthesia.

  31. Is there a way to explain what the important blood clot looks like ? I got all 4 wisdom teeth out about 6 days ago , and on both sides now I have spit out a ball of.. Something gross attached to what I’m assuming is the last of my stitches. I’d like to know if I should be expecting a dry socket or not ..
    This has truly been the worst experience Of my 21 years of life ..

  32. I had my lower left wisdom tooth removed yesterday, and the left side of my tongue is still completely numb, 29 hours after the procedure. I’m scared to eat and chew in case I bite through it. How long will it take to start to settle, even just a bit? The dentist did say it was a difficult extraction and removed quite a bit of bone…

    1. Elizabeth, you are experiencing paresthesia, which means that you remain numb after surgery. 99% of times it is temporary and it goes away after a few days of a few months. Did you talk to your dentist about it?

      1. hello, thanks for the reply. no i havent spoken to my dentist. i wanted to see if it would improve. yesterday it felt all tingly, but not much today. if i dont talk it settles. then the minute i have to have a conversation it goes all numb again and i have a lisp when speaking. i find it difficult to eat foods involving chewing. i have now developed a numbness to gum on the inside of my mouth below all the lower left teeth also.

        1. Elizabeth, the same nerve that involves the tongue (on one side) also involves the gums behind teeth on that same side. It’s called the lingual nerve. If you feel that the numbness is going away slowly, then that is good. If not, your dentist should check it quickly.

  33. wow ! that surely takes care of my concerns. Dr.Youssef that was very informative. i had my lower wisdom tooth extracted last evening and still continue to have a weird feeling on my tongue. Feels a kinda rubbery. my jaw too feels a slight pain. I am on antibiotics and pain killer. I thought of checking with the doc about this but looks like I dont need to . i have an excellent dentist who did the extraction. So lets hope this improves.

  34. I had my all four of my wisdom teeth cut out June 15 and it is now June 21 and I still have tongue numbness should I be worried about my Lingual nerve being injuried…?

    1. Taylor, if the numbness is slowly going away then don’t be worried. If it is not, I mean if the numbness is stable at a level then consult your dentist. But put in mind that permanent paresthesia is very rare.

  35. hey i had my wisdom teeth out like 10 days and was using the syringe last night and this white thing came up now its stuck i think its part of the bone or part of the tooth. I am going to the oral surgeon tomorrow will he have to take it out if so will it hurt.. what will he do sorry about all the questions but im scared

    1. If it’s hard it might be the bone. It might be many things actually. The worse thing that can happen is that it’s a piece of bone that your dentist might need to remove, and of course it’s done under local anesthesia.

  36. I had my lower wisdom teeth removed under general anesthesia on Wednesday, my face is REALLY swollen (cheeks and jaw).
    Would a warm or cold compress help it to go down?

  37. Hi, I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed 6 days ago. Then went back on Monday (2 days ago) with a dry socket and had it packed with the clover stuff. It tasted SOOOO nasty but has really helped with the pain. I feel a lot better but still have major wholes where the bottom teeth were extracted. I can’t eat anything without food getting stuck down in there. How long before they close up? Is it ok to put the syringe thing in the whole to flush out with salt water? I also must have bit my tongue really bad while I was still all numb because it has one area that’s grayish white in color and about the size of a nickle that continually rubs against my teeth and hurts really bad. Any tips on pain relief for that besides orajel? oh and I don’t smoke or drink but would like to drink fluids from a straw because it makes me think I will get less sugary stuff in my teeth that way. Thanks in advance! My dentist seems annoyed with all my questions but this has truly been a rough experience.

    1. Nakaela, you are not very lucky… the holes take longer time to close up, a few more weeks and it should feel more comfortable. When you use the syringe with salted water, go slowly, not applying too much pressure.
      The lesion on your tongue should go away within two weeks max. You can use Orajel (like you said) and anti-inflammatory drugs for the pain.

  38. It’s been 12 days since I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth out. After I eat, I rinse with salt water, but there is still food in the socket that I can’t get out. Should I be concerned about this? Or is there another way that I could get rid of the food that is stuck?

  39. Any suggestions on meals? My husband is having 3 teeth extracted tomorrow (2 wisdom) and 3 more one week later(including the other 2 wisdom)! He is also going to be working, as he can’t get any time off except for the afternoon of the procedures. He’s pretty bummed about it, and I want to have something besides gruel for him to eat… I’d be very grateful for any advice!

  40. I have a question, I went as an emergency on Friday and they told me they were going to take the wisdom tooth out, lower left. After, I went back on Mon bc the swelling of half of my tongue did not go down and I am not having the same feeling on that half. It’s now been one week, and still no change on my tongue. Will this go away? I am scared it’s permanent nerve damage

        1. Paresthesia of the tongue (when your tongue stays numb) may occur after lower wisdom tooth extraction. Usually it wears off with time, it is very rare that it stays permanent.

          Leezle, do you feel that the numbness of your tongue is less present than last weekend?

          1. Well I do have have feeling on both sides, just the other half feels more heavy and dull. I wouldn’t say numbness is less present.. But swelling went down since last weekend.

          2. An hr ago my lip started to twitch, the left half which my tongue is also numb at.. Hopefully this is a good sign?

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