Wisdom tooth extraction is a common experience for teenagers and young adults. Extracting the wisdom tooth limits the risk of infection to the gum tissue and surrounding teeth, because wisdom teeth often remain partially covered in gum tissue. It also helps avoid overcrowding of teeth. Most wisdom tooth extractions are without problems, but if you experience pain two weeks after oral surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for a follow-up appointment.
Normal Recovery Time
Normal recovery time for wisdom tooth extraction is 48 to 72 hours. Bleeding can be expected for up to 10 hours after surgery; be aware that a little blood can seem like a lot when it mixes with saliva. Pain and swelling that last for several days are normal side effects of wisdom tooth extraction.
Explanations for Prolonged Pain
Pain that occurs more than a few days after surgery might be caused by a dry socket, in which there is not normal blood clotting in the extraction site. You might have delayed swelling if intravenous steroids were used during the operation. A nearby tooth or strained jaw muscles also can cause prolonged pain.
Other possible causes of prolonged pain in the jaw and face after surgery include an infected socket, a fractured or weakened jawbone, or an incursion on the sinus cavity.
Symptoms of Infection
In addition to mouth or jaw pain, symptoms of an infection include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, swelling and a salty taste in the mouth.
Make sure you schedule and attend a follow-up appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon a few days after wisdom tooth extraction to catch any complications in the early stages and prevent prolonged pain. Always follow your dentist's instructions about eating, drinking and cleaning the extraction site to avoid complications.
Your dentist might suggest you use ice and antiinflammatory medication to ease swelling and pain. You also can minimize the pain from swelling by elevating the head while sleeping. The dentist can treat a dry socket by applying surgical dressing and a localized anesthetic to reduce the pain. Avoid chewing or grinding the teeth if your pain is caused by jaw muscle strain, and use anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants.