9 Ways To Manage Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

It’s quite common to have impacted wisdom teeth. These molars usually start coming in between ages 17 to 21, but often, there isn’t enough space for them to grow properly, leading to the need for extraction. Experiencing pain after wisdom tooth extraction is common due to the surgical nature of the procedure. While some discomfort is expected, there are several effective strategies to manage pain after wisdom tooth extraction and promote faster healing. 

Let us explore 9 practical ways to ease pain and ensure a smoother recovery process after wisdom tooth extraction.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Issues?

When wisdom teeth start to emerge in adulthood, most of the other teeth have already settled into their permanent positions. This lack of space often results in problems for these four latecomers, leading to the need for wisdom tooth extraction in many cases. If a wisdom tooth partially emerges through the gum, it creates a pocket where food can get trapped easily. Even with careful brushing, this partial emergence can increase the risk of infections or tooth decay.

However, even when a wisdom tooth fully emerges, it can still cause complications. If these teeth grow at odd angles, they may irritate the mouth’s interior or neighboring gums and exert pressure on nearby teeth.

Regular visits to a wisdom tooth extraction dentist during adolescence and early adulthood allow for monitoring the development of these molars and addressing any emerging issues proactively.

9 Tips to Manage Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extractionmanage pain after wisdom tooth extraction

Here are 9 Tips to manage pain after wisdom tooth extraction.

Keep the Extraction Site Moist 

Preventing a dry socket is crucial for a smooth recovery after wisdom tooth extraction. A dry socket occurs when the protective blood clot at the extraction site dislodges, causing intense pain, especially in the first few days post-extraction. This complication can occur in up to 30% of impacted wisdom tooth removal cases.

Your dentist will provide specific home-care instructions, including: 

    • Avoiding soaking gauze pads before placing them on the extraction site
    • Refraining from aggressive rinsing and keeping the gauze in place until changing it
    • Using resorbable sutures and practicing light coconut oil pulling each evening for a week after surgery
    • Consuming soft or liquid foods as recommended and taking prescribed antibiotics
    • Avoiding activities like passionate kissing during the initial recovery period.
  • Make Sure to Take Your Pain Relief Medication 

One crucial part of taking care of yourself after a wisdom tooth extraction is following the medication plan your dentist gives you. It’s all about staying ahead of the pain, whether your dentist prescribes specific medications or recommends over-the-counter options like ibuprofen or aspirin. Don’t wait for the pain to become unbearable; start taking your medication as directed. Managing pain before it gets bad is often more effective than trying to ease it after it has already.

  • Use Warm Saltwater Rinses 

A warm salt water rinse has been a trusted method for soothing oral discomfort, especially after having wisdom teeth extracted. This ancient remedy, known since the times of the Egyptians and Greeks, plays a crucial role in helping you recover after a wisdom tooth extraction.

Saltwater acts as a gentle antibacterial agent, reducing the risk of infections and helping to ease pain. It maintains a healthy pH balance in your mouth, which discourages bacterial growth. It’s important to avoid using commercial mouthwashes after surgery because their alcohol content can cause discomfort and may disrupt the crucial blood clot, leading to complications.

To make the rinse, mix two tablespoons of salt into a cup of lukewarm water until the salt is fully dissolved. Gently swish the saltwater mixture in your mouth for about 12 seconds, being careful not to gargle or spit forcefully, as this could disturb the blood clot. Repeat this gentle rinsing process every few hours to experience ongoing relief during your recovery period.

  • Massage Your Jaw 

After wisdom tooth surgery, it’s common to experience jaw discomfort due to prolonged mouth opening during the procedure. This can lead to issues like myofascial pain, muscle cramps, or temporary trismus, often called “lockjaw.” The masseter muscle, crucial for chewing, is particularly prone to this type of discomfort.

To ease the strain and speed up your recovery: 

    • Place your first two fingers just in front of each ear’s opening.
    • Gently perform circular motions with these fingers, focusing on massaging the area.
    • Avoid putting too much pressure or massaging too vigorously.
    • Jaw stiffness usually improves significantly by day 7 post-surgery and typically resolves completely around day 11 after the operation.
  • Choose Soft Foods 

After your wisdom tooth surgery, you might not feel much like eating, but it’s crucial to maintain proper nutrition to support your recovery. Even if you wait until the day after the procedure to eat, it’s important to make wise food choices. Choose foods that are easy to eat, which can help you heal faster and avoid issues like “what not to do for 24 hours after tooth extraction.”

Stick to foods that require minimal chewing to avoid disturbing the blood clots and stitches in your mouth. As your appetite returns, introduce soft foods into your meals. 

Here are some gentle and safe options to consider: 

    • Smooth soups and broths
    • Yogurt and pudding
    • Scrambled eggs
    • Mashed bananas and applesauce
    • Cottage cheese
    • Mashed potatoes
    • Smoothies

Remember, selecting easy-to-eat foods can speed up your recovery process and reduce complications after your surgery.

  • Avoid Smoking 

It’s crucial to refrain from smoking after your wisdom tooth extraction. Smoking not only delays the healing process but also increases the risk of dislodging the protective blood clots in your extraction sockets. This can lead to painful dry sockets, which can prolong your recovery time. Take advantage of this recovery period to break free from smoking and adopt healthier habits for your overall well-being.

  • Avoid Strenuous Activity 

While you may be eager to resume your normal activities after surgery, it’s important to proceed with caution. Give yourself time to recover fully by avoiding strenuous exercises or activities for at least a few days. Gradually reintroduce your daily routines as you start feeling more comfortable to ensure a smoother healing process.

  • Identify Signs of Trouble 

Following a wisdom tooth procedure, it’s common to experience swelling, pain, and some bleeding. However, it’s important to stay vigilant for signs that could indicate potential complications:

    • Unmanageable pain that isn’t relieved by medication
    • Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
    • Presence of a fever
    • Excessive swelling in the surgical area
    • Numbness that persists beyond the expected timeframe
    • Discharge of blood or pus from the surgical site
    • Continuous or significant bleeding that doesn’t subside
  • Make Rest a Priority 

Rest is crucial for your body’s healing process, especially after a wisdom tooth procedure. It’s important to minimize physical activity for at least 36 hours to reduce any discomfort.

Consider taking at least two days off from work or other demanding activities to aid in your recovery. This break is particularly beneficial if your job involves strenuous tasks or extended periods of talking.


Manage the pain after wisdom tooth extraction is crucial for a smooth recovery. By following these nine tips diligently, you can alleviate discomfort and promote healing effectively. Remember to consult your dentist for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific situation.

Ready to ease your post-extraction discomfort? Book an appointment online with Baker Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Clearwater, FL, today! New patients can call us at (727) 304-1673, while current patients can reach us at (727) 334-7990 for assistance.



How long does wisdom tooth pain last after extraction? 

Wisdom tooth pain typically subsides within a few days to a week after extraction, depending on individual healing rates and following proper care protocols.

Can I resume normal activities immediately after wisdom tooth extraction? 

It’s advisable to avoid strenuous activities for at least a few days after extraction to aid in the healing process. Gradually resume normal activities as you feel comfortable.

What should I do if I experience excessive bleeding or other unusual symptoms after extraction? 

Contact your dentist immediately if you experience persistent bleeding, unbearable pain, or other unusual symptoms after wisdom tooth extraction for proper evaluation and guidance.

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