Recovery Time After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Patients frequently ask how long it will take to recover from the removal of wisdom teeth. This is a difficult question to answer as there many factors involved.

You must first consider the patient. Some patients believe themselves to be easily bruised and some individuals do indeed more easily than others. These individuals will suffer a greater degree of bruising and swelling when their wisdom teeth are removed than the average and it will take these individuals longer to recover from the extraction of wisdom teeth.

It is common for patients to present with existing conditions which can reduce the patient’s ability to heal. Diabetes, chronic anaemia and cancer are common medical conditions which may reduce healing ability post the removal of wisdom teeth.

 

Likewise the use of drugs for specific medical conditions may reduce healing potential. Bisphosphonates are drugs used to prevent secondary cancerous lesions spreading to bone and in low doses to treat osteoarthritis. This drug has a well-recognised side effect of preventing healing after any dental extraction. Radiotherapy historically has a well-recognised side effect of reducing healing potential. This side effect is a lot less common now as more modern radiotherapy techniques has reduced the dose administered to surrounding tissue. Some specific chemo therapy regimes will also reduce a patient’s ability to heal after any dental extraction.

 

Surgical infection, be it present before an extraction or if it develops after the extraction will halt healing and add several days to the recovery time until the infection is brought under control.

 

You must consider the surgeon. The longer your oral surgeon takes to remove your wisdom teeth then the greater and more prolonged will be the pain, bruising and swelling post-surgery. The skill of your oral surgeon in soft tissue management is also very important. A neat surgeon who takes good care of the soft tissue around the extraction site will cause less pain, swelling and bruising after the wisdom teeth have been removed. An untalented surgeon who doesn’t pay attention to care of the soft tissue will cause a higher degree of pain, swelling and bruising. The greater the pain and swelling the longer it will take for this pain and swelling to resolve. The removal of debris from the wisdom tooth socket and making sure that the wound is left clean will play a big part in accelerating healing. An oral surgeon who fails to do this will inflict more pain, swelling and possible post-operative infection on their patients post-surgery.

 

 

Some oral surgeons will use a drug called Dexamethasone during the removal of wisdom teeth. Dexamethasone will reduce surgical swelling and reduce inflammatory pain aiding recovery after the removal of wisdom teeth.

 

The degree of impaction of the wisdom tooth is probably the most important factor in determining the recovery time after the removal of wisdom teeth. There is a wide range to the degree of impaction seen. Wisdom teeth may be impacted into the gum only. These teeth will be easily removed with little pain or swelling post-surgery. On the other hand wisdom teeth may be deeply impacted into the bone. These teeth will be more difficult to remove. The more work that must be done to remove a wisdom tooth the more bruising, pain and swelling you may expect post-surgery.

 

As you can see there are many factors to consider when assessing the likely recovery time after the removal of wisdom teeth