After having your wisdom teeth taken out

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Adult toothache

After your teeth have been taken out it's a good idea to avoid drinking alcohol and smoking for 24 hours to lower the risk of infection.

Your surgeon will go over all of this with you. How much discomfort you feel after the surgery will depend on how complicated it was.

Pain after your treatment is normal. How much you get will depend on how complicated your surgery was. You might be prescribed painkillers - if not you can use ibuprofen and paracetamol. Check our article on your your medicine cabinet to see what you can take together.
Swelling after your treatment is also a normal part of the healing process and doesn't mean you've got an infection. It should last for up to 3-4 days.
Bleeding is a natural response to this surgery too. You might be given gauze by your surgeon. If you're bleeding put the gauze over where the tooth was and bite on it firmly for 15 minutes.
Eating solid food may be difficult to eat for a day or two.

How can I help recovery?

To avoid infection you can rinse your mouth with salt water. Mix one teaspoon of salt into a glass of hot water (but not so hot that it burns your mouth) and swill it round your mouth. Start this 6 hours or so after treatment and repeat 4 times a day for 4-5 days.

You probably won't be prescribed antibiotics because they don't usually help. If you are, make sure you take these and are careful with contraception. It'll make the pill less effective, so you'll need to use additional contraception while you're on the antibiotics and for 7 days after.

You should brush your teeth normally but be gentle around the area where the tooth has been removed.

What should I watch out for after I've had my wisdom teeth taken out?

Again, your surgeon will go over all of this with you.

If your mouth is bleeding and gauze doesn't stop it, you have swelling that doesn't go down after a few days, or pain that doesn't respond to painkillers then contact your dentist or go to casualty.

There is a slight risk of infection, as with any surgery. A sign of infection is if pain and swelling gets worse after 4-6 days after the treatment. If this happens then contact your clinic.

There is also a complication that affects about 2% of patients called dry socket. Signs of this are marked pain from where the tooth has been removed, but with very little or no additional swelling. This can be cured, but again you need to contact your clinic.

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More help and information

- Six steps to improve your dental health
- Visit Bupa's website on
- You can call the Dental Health Foundation's helpline for free advice on 0845 063 1188. Or visit their website at

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