Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2 Unionville ON L3R 1M5 (905) 477-6453

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Unionville, ON
(905) 477-6453

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Do’s & Don’ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be a daunting experience, but knowing how to take care of yourself afterward can make all the difference. 

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are often extracted to prevent dental issues such as overcrowding, infections, and impaction. Proper post-extraction care is crucial for a smooth recovery and to reduce the risk of complications like dry socket and infection. 

Your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions for aftercare, but immediately after wisdom tooth extraction, you’ll want to make sure you:

  • Do: Rest and relax, apply ice packs, and bite on gauze.
  • Don’t: Do strenuous activities, use straws, or consume hot foods or beverages.

The First 24 Hours

The first 24 hours after your wisdom tooth extraction are critical for setting the stage for proper healing. Here are our do’s & don’t’s for post-extraction: 


  1. Rest & Relax
  • Ensure you get plenty of rest immediately after your surgery. Your body needs time to heal, and overexertion can delay recovery.
  1. Apply Ice Packs
  • Using ice packs on your cheeks can help reduce swelling and numb the area to minimize pain. Apply ice for 15–20 minutes at a time. 
  1. Bite on Gauze
  • Place a piece of gauze over the extraction site and bite down gently to help stop bleeding. Change the gauze every 30–45 minutes or as needed.


  1. Perform Strenuous Activities
  • Refrain from heavy lifting, exercise, or any strenuous activities that could increase blood flow to your mouth and disrupt the clotting process.
  1. Use Straws
  • Sucking on a straw can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the extraction site, leading to painful conditions like dry socket.
  1. Consume Hot Foods & Drinks
  • Hot foods and beverages can dissolve the clot and delay healing. Stick to lukewarm or cold foods and drinks instead.

Managing Pain & Discomfort

Pain and swelling are normal after a wisdom tooth extraction, but there are effective ways to manage them.

Pain Relief

Over-the-Counter Medications

  • Medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Prescribed Pain Relievers

  • If your dentist prescribes stronger pain medication, take it as directed. Be mindful of any side effects and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.

Cold Compresses

  • Continue to use ice packs for the first 24–48 hours to minimize swelling and numb the area. After 48 hours, switch to warm compresses to improve blood flow and promote healing.

Avoid Touching the Area

  • Refrain from poking or prodding the extraction site with your tongue or fingers, as this can introduce bacteria and cause irritation.

Eating & Drinking Guidelines

Your diet can play a significant role in your recovery process, so knowing what to eat and what to avoid is essential.

Close-up of a girl's hands pouring a green smoothie from a magic bullet into a glass on a kitchen table.

Foods to Eat

  1. Soft Foods
  • Stick to soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. These are easy to eat without putting too much pressure on the extraction site.
  1. Cold Foods
  • Cold foods like ice cream and popsicles can soothe the extraction area and help reduce swelling.
  1. Nutrient-Rich Options
  • Opt for nutrient-rich soft foods like scrambled eggs, avocado, and pureed vegetables to keep your energy levels up and support healing.

Foods to Avoid

  1. Crunchy or Hard Foods
  • Avoid foods like chips, nuts, and raw vegetables that can get stuck in the extraction site and disrupt the healing process.
  1. Spicy Foods
  • Spicy foods can irritate the extraction site and cause discomfort. Stick to bland foods for the first few days.
  1. Caffeinated, Carbonated, & Alcoholic Beverages

Oral Hygiene & Care Instructions

Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent infections. Make sure to keep your mouth clean, but do so gently to avoid disturbing the extraction site. 

  1. Rinse Gently
  • Start to rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water 24 hours after the extraction. Do this several times a day, especially after meals.
  1. Avoid Brushing Near the Site
  • For the first few days, avoid brushing directly over the extraction site. Instead, focus on cleaning the rest of your teeth thoroughly.
  1. Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
  • When brushing near the extraction site, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating the area.

Signs of Complications & When to Seek Help

While most wisdom tooth extractions heal without issue, knowing the signs of complications is important.

  1. Persistent Bleeding
  • If bleeding continues for more than 24 hours, contact your dentist immediately.
  1. Severe Pain
  • While some discomfort is normal, severe or worsening pain may indicate an issue such as dry socket or infection.
  1. Swelling or Pus
  • Swelling that doesn’t improve after a few days, or the presence of pus, could signal an infection.

Recovery Timeline

Understanding the typical recovery timeline can help set your expectations and ease any concerns.

First Few Days

  1. Initial Healing
  • During the first 3 days, focus on rest, managing pain, and following your dentist’s care instructions. Swelling and discomfort are normal during this period.
  1. Changing Gauze
  • You may need to change the gauze frequently during the first 24 hours to control bleeding.
  1. Starting Soft Foods
  • Begin with a diet of soft foods and avoid anything that requires chewing.

1 Week After

  1. Reduced Swelling
  • By the end of the first week, swelling should start to subside. Continue to use warm compresses to aid in the healing process.
  1. Resuming Normal Activities
  • You can gradually resume normal activities, but avoid strenuous exercise until you have fully healed.
  1. Follow-Up Appointment
  • Attend any scheduled follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure the extraction site is healing properly.

2 Weeks & Beyond

  1. Complete Healing
  • Most patients will see significant healing by the two-week mark, though complete healing may take a few weeks longer.
  1. Oral Hygiene Routine
  • You can return to your regular oral hygiene routine but continue to be gentle around the extraction site.
  1. Assessing for Complications
  • Contact your dentist for further evaluation if you notice any unusual symptoms beyond the 2-week mark.

Know What to Expect from Your Extraction

Navigating the recovery process after a wisdom tooth extraction can feel overwhelming, but with the right care and attention, you can return to your regular routine. 

Remember the key do’s and don’ts: manage your pain effectively, follow the eating and drinking guidelines, and maintain good oral hygiene. Look for any signs of complications and know when to seek help. At Markham Dental Smiles, we’re here to support you every step of the way. For more personalized advice and assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Visit Our Location

We would love to meet you at our Unionville office. We’re located on Highway 7, right next to the Shopper’s Drug Mart.


Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2
Unionville, ON, L3R 1M5

Contact Number

Phone: (905) 477-6453
Email: [email protected]


Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM - 2:30PM
Friday: 10:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday: Closed