How to Brush Your Teeth After Wisdom Teeth Removal 

It’s generally recommended to brush your teeth at least twice per day, once in the morning and once before bedtime, but what about brushing your teeth after wisdom teeth removal? The short and simple answer is yes, you should be brushing your teeth afterwards but with special care so as not to exacerbate any pain or to slow down recovery. 

Wisdom teeth extraction is somewhat normal for individuals aged 17-25, sometimes younger, sometimes older. Although the operation is done with anaesthetic to numb any pain, the recovery period can be problematic for your routine oral hygiene habits and you may experience some pain during the recovery process. 


Photo by Diana Polekhina

When Can I Brush My Teeth After Tooth Extraction? 

You may be wondering: “when can I brush my teeth with toothpaste after wisdom teeth removal?” In most cases, you should refrain from brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours or potentially longer. You can begin brushing again after the first day of recovery, but do take precautions so that you don’t interfere with any stitches or cause yourself pain. 


The First 24 Hours After Wisdom Teeth Extraction 

The first 24 hours after wisdom teeth extraction require additional care to reduce pain and to help recovery. According to HSE, refrain from drinking hot liquids, consuming alcohol or smoking, and engaging in strenuous exercise. Maintain a liquid diet and use painkillers if necessary and as prescribed by your dentist, but avoid ibuprofen as this may increase bleeding. 

In terms of cleaning your teeth and gums, the HSE does not mention toothpaste, although your dentist may provide you with antiseptic mouthwash to use instead. Skipping your normal brushing routine for the first 24 hours is normally fine if you’re in doubt. 


Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery & Aftercare 

After the first 24 hours, the pain and swelling around the wisdom teeth extraction area should diminish and you should be able to resume your normal oral hygiene routine. Avoid the sensitive area around the extraction site.  You can normally resume normal toothbrushing after the first few days, in conjunction with taking any antibiotics that may have been prescribed and using an antiseptic mouthwash to rinse. 

 Consider using a new, soft toothbrush for the recovery period and throwing it away after recovering. Try to avoid using an electric toothbrush for at least two weeks. Old toothbrushes accumulate bacteria that could be reintroduced to sensitive areas of the mouth during recovery, so use this as an opportunity to replace your toothbrush. 


How to Brush Your Teeth After Wisdom Tooth Removal 

The recovery period for wisdom tooth removal normally only lasts a couple of weeks and the most critical period is usually the first 24-48 hours. After the first few days, pain and inflammation should go down and you can resume brushing normally again. During this time, consider avoiding use of an electric toothbrush and instead use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid directly brushing over the extraction site and adjacent gums/teeth. 

 You should also refrain from spitting out your toothpaste during the first week or so. Spitting out toothpaste can use enough force to dislodge or loosen blood clots forming in the extraction area, slowing down the recovery process or potentially exposing it to infection. Instead, gently ‘drool’ out the toothpaste and rinse with water, followed by an antiseptic mouthwash rinse. 

 Otherwise, brush as usual. Use small, circular strokes over your teeth, gently brush your gums and tongue, then spit out and rinse your mouth afterwards. Try to brush for two full minutes, twice per day at least. 


Possible Complications After Wisdom Tooth Removal 

It’s quite normal to feel some pain or discomfort immediately after wisdom tooth removal and for the following few days, but the recovery normally shouldn’t take longer than a week. Although wisdom tooth extraction is a very safe and normal procedure for a dentist in Cork, there are some complications that may arise during the recovery period.  

Dry Socket 

Your body will attempt to heal following the operation, but failure to heal properly can lead to a foul odour/taste coming from the extraction area. You may also notice exposed bone when looking at the extraction area or feel pain in the jaw and potentially up to your temples. This is known as dry socket and it normally occurs 3-5 days following surgery. 

Your dentist can remove any debris from the socket so that a blood clot can properly form there. It will normally take about a week to recover fully, but if it takes longer then there may be an infection and you should go to your dentist at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Pain & Inflammation 

Although it’s normal to experience some pain and inflammation immediately after wisdom tooth extraction and for about 2 weeks afterwards, the severity of pain and inflammation should go down, not up. 

If you feel that the swelling has increased or you notice sharp pains beyond the first few days, it could be due to an infection of the extraction area. Take any prescribed painkillers from your dentist and do not take ibuprofen. Consult with your dentist if the pain and inflammation do not go away after the first 3-5 days. 

Nerve Injury 

If your face feels numb and/or you experience pain or tingling, it is possible that your nerves were damaged during the surgery. The discomfort is normally felt in the chin, tongue, lower lips, and the teeth & gums. 

Nerve injuries from wisdom teeth extraction are somewhat rare but almost always temporary, lasting only a few weeks or a few months at the most. Wisdom tooth nerve injuries will normally heal on their own, but you may require painkillers to help alleviate any discomfort. 


Wisdom Tooth Removal at Bandon Dental 

Wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort. Do the wise thing and schedule wisdom tooth extraction with our friendly highly trained team at Bandon Dental. 


Author Bio: Deirdre Dunne

Bandon Dental’s dedicated owner. A highly qualified Dental Hygienist, Deirdre has over a decade of experience, with a diploma in dental hygiene from Cork University’s Dental School and Hospital. Deirdre is committed to continuous up-skilling and investment in the most up-to-date technology in our practice. This ensures our patients receive the highest standard of care, as Bandon Dental stays abreast of the latest advancements in dental hygiene for optimal oral health.

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