9 Tips For Making Wisdom Teeth Removal Less Miserable

Photographed by Nicole Maroon.
If you're someone who gets freaked out going to the dentist for your annual cleaning, then the thought of getting your wisdom teeth removed might have you shook. There's a lot of hype surrounding wisdom teeth removal, mostly because it can be a pain — literally and figuratively.
Wisdom teeth removal is often "a little bit more of a production than just taking out a tooth," by nature of where they're located, according to Alan Felsenfeld, MA, DDS, FACD, professor of clinical dentistry at UCLA School of Dentistry. Wisdom teeth are in the way back corners of your mouth, and sometimes they can be "impacted," meaning they're stuck under bone and tissue that has to be drilled and removed, he says. "It takes longer, and you are doing a more aggressive surgery to remove them," Dr. Felsenfeld says.
But despite much of the lore associated with the procedure, most people are better within three to four days after the surgery, although some may end up with more swelling and pain than others, Dr. Felsenfeld says. It's important to talk to your surgeon beforehand to make sure you understand your post-op treatment plan, and exactly what you're supposed to do to help speed the healing process along, he says.
According to Dr. Felsenfeld, the best thing you can do is use ice to reduce swelling and numb some of the pain. And you should maintain good mouth hygiene throughout, because a lot of food and debris can accumulate in your mouth and slow the healing process — which you do not want to do. "If the healing goes smoothly, the chances of [your teeth] having a lot of trouble are diminished," he says.
Luckily, there are ways you can get creative with your icing techniques and soft-food diet while you wait for your mouth to heal. We asked people in the R29 community how they survived wisdom teeth removal, and ahead are their tips and tricks for making it a little less miserable. But remember, first and foremost, to listen to your doctor's orders — that's always the wisest thing to do.
1 of 9

Chew on a frozen washcloth.

"Eat lots of ice cream and 'chew' on a frozen washcloth. And know that your mouth is going to taste GROSS while it heals." - Alyssa
2 of 9

it's not as bad as people say.

"I didn't get knocked out for the procedure. My surgeon used local anesthesia so I was awake. This seems counterintuitive, but [I think] I ended up with less pain afterwards because the surgeon wasn't yanking my jaw around; you can help give tension as they do their thing. Do whatever your doctor tells you to, but basically it's not as bad as people say!" - Ross
3 of 9

look the wound in the eye.

"I wish I'd known to look the wound in the eye. I originally did not, only to later realize that I probably had a stitch come out early, which freaked your girl out because a tiny part of my gums felt like it was flapping around. Also, it generally hurt more than people told me it would, BUT I only did local anesthetic." – Wendy
4 of 9

It's not as dramatic or as funny as viral videos make it seem.

"Have a good working blender for smoothies/shakes. Don't freak out when your face is still numb hours later (I was still doped up and started crying when I couldn't drink anything without it just falling out of my slackened face). Get a friend to watch your favorite dumb movies with you while you're couch-bound! It's not as dramatic or as funny as viral videos make it seem, but your face WILL be twice the size of your regular face, so there's still humor to be had." - Sara
5 of 9

Just chill!

"Don't do stuff too soon! I'm really impatient at waiting to get better, and I started going about my routine too early. I ended up in way more pain than I needed to be because of that. Just chill! And I wish I knew I was about to be hangry AF for a few days." - Victoria
6 of 9

Keep ice on most of the time.

"Ice, ice, ice! Make sure to keep ice (wrapped in a towel) on most of the time; the cold helps the most and basically freezes your face so you don't feel anything." - Brie
7 of 9

Bite on two seeped tea bags.

"I bit on two seeped tea bags for 30 minutes to help with the bleeding! Also, you are going to be so hungry for solid food, but don't push it, or you might find yourself choking on a tortilla chip at a Mexican food restaurant." - Kelsey
8 of 9

Stick to room temperature and warm food.

"Stick to liquids and super soft food for the first few days. Soups are great, mashed potatoes and bananas are great, too. Stick to room temperature and warm food, nothing too hot or cold because it hurts and your mouth feels super sensitive. Don't eat dumplings on day two... it really hurts." - Dasha
9 of 9

pills, sleep, ice cream and Jello.

"My tip is: pills, sleep, ice cream, and Jello. It's also possible to have one side swollen and not the other!" - Katie

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