The pain associated with wisdom teeth removal lasts for around 48 hours, although the mouth feels sore for around a week or so following the extraction, according to the Royal College of Surgeons. Anesthetics given during the procedure keep the pain at bay until around 4 hours afterwards, and prescription painkillers are usually given to ensure pain control in the hours and days that follow.
Recovery for most people is just a few days, according to WebMD. To speed recovery, following the oral surgeon's instructions is important. Generally, patients are instructed to apply an ice pack to the outside of the cheek on the affected side in 15- to 20-minute intervals for the first 24 hours following extraction. Moist heat can also be used for a few days to help alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
Avoiding smoking or using straws for at least the 24 hours following the procedure is important, since the action of sucking on a cigarette can delay healing and loosen the clot that forms on the surgical site. Smoking also brings contaminants and germs to the site of the surgery, warns WebMD. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water can help to relieve pain and reduce swelling; a mixture of 1 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of water should be used.