We’re not going to lie to you: Getting your wisdom teeth out is no picnic. The oral surgery itself might be painless, but the recovery? Not so much. You’re going to be knocked down and laid out for at least a day or two. But wisdom teeth removal is a great excuse to take a well deserved and needed break. In fact, the key to not only healing but making your recovery a much more pleasant experience is to take it easy. It’s not a haircut — it’s invasive oral surgery, after all. Chill out and relax.
But as dentists who specialize in wisdom teeth removal, we know what you can do to ease the recovery process. Here’s how to sleep in, feel better, and recover like a champ after having your wisdom teeth removed.
1. Stay Up All Night
Yeah, you heard us: The night before you have your wisdom teeth removed, stay up all night — or at least as late as you can. You officially have medical permission from your wisdom teeth removal dentist to binge watch Netflix like a couch potato. Sure, you’ll be exhausted the next day. (Remember, we’re doing the oral surgery. Not you. All you’ve got to do is lie back and drool.)
Being completely exhausted for your wisdom teeth extraction is the point. Once you’re home, you’ll completely sleep through most of the discomfort of having your wisdom teeth removed. Marching bands doing heavy metal horn sonatas won’t be able to wake you.
2. Clear Your Schedule
Assume you won’t be doing much of anything for the next one to three days after you’ve had your wisdom teeth out but sleeping and resting. Don’t schedule your appointment in the middle of a big college paper. Call your friends and tell them you’ll be incognito for a few days. Give yourself the time and space to relax. This means no stress, no hassles, no to do lists. Save responsibility and any fun for when your jawbones are back on their feet. You’re recovering from a serious oral surgery. Be kind to yourself.
3. Take the Pain Medication We Give You
Don’t be shy about taking the pain medication we give you. Recovering from wisdom teeth removal is painful, but the drugs will help. But keep in mind they take some time to kick in. Don’t wait until you’re in excruciating pain to press the emergency pain relief button. Plan to be well medicated before the pain hits — and keep pain relieved throughout the healing process. Staying ahead of the pain is the best way to recover from having your wisdom teeth out.
4. Invest in Comfy Pillows
Comfortable, relaxing pillows are your best friends. Make good use of them. Prop them on the couch. Use extra pillows in bed. Don’t hesitate. You need to rest, and nothing says relax like a pillow more billowy than a cloud.
5. Stick to Soft Food
Plan on eating a diet of soft food for a few days — smoothies, ice cream, soups, apple sauce. You want to go easy on your mouth, especially your jawbone.
6. Binge Netflix until Your Eyes Fall Out
We told you to binge watch Netflix the night before. Once you’ve slept all you can, prop yourself up on the couch and watch Netflix until the cow comes home and is frying in the pan. This is your excuse to soak it up and watch to your melted brain’s content.
7. Open and Close Your Mouth
After you have your wisdom teeth out, your mouth can feel stiff. As you rest, periodically open and close your mouth. (A good yawn does wonders!) This will help stretch out your mouth and increase circulation. It may be difficult at first. Start slowly and keep working at it. Like any sore muscle, it’s best to be easy but persistent.
Life’s a horse race. The beautiful thing about having your wisdom teeth removed is that it forces you to slow down, take it easy. Allow yourself this much needed break. Don’t push it. You’re in full recovery mode — and that means living for days in your PJs, lounging on the couch, and soaking up rest. After a few days, you’ll feel better and ready to get back into life. Trust us — you’ll feel better if you give yourself a few days to heal after having your wisdom teeth out.