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How to Sleep After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are frequently extracted from the mouths of teens and adults alike. Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars to appear in your mouth, but often cause unnecessary dental problems if left alone. Most people do not have the proper oral space needed to host wisdom teeth 1. Lack of space may lead to tooth pain or even the shifting of front teeth when wisdom teeth come in. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure, but you may find that post-surgical pain makes it difficult to fall asleep.

Remove the gauze from your mouth. Your oral surgeon placed gauze pads over the incision site to stop the bleeding. Once half an hour has passed, it is safe to remove the gauze pads. The gauze pads need to be out of your mouth before you can sleep. If left in, you could choke on the gauze.

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Take your pain medication as prescribed. The pain from an extraction typically peaks between six and 10 hours after the operation, so taking your pain medication on time is imperative. Even if you feel OK, you should take your next dosage of medication before the current pain medication wears off. Continuous pain medication will ensure you have restful sleep. If the medication wears off while you sleep, you could wake up from the pain and find that your next dose of medication takes some time to start working.

Put an ice pack on your cheek if you have extensive swelling. This will help reduce the swelling and may offer further pain relief. You can leave an ice pack on for a short nap, but not for a lengthy rest. Extended use of an ice pack may cause your cheek to feel very cold, so leave it on during sleep only if you plan to rest for less than half an hour.

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Lie down in a comfortable position. Play calming music to help yourself relax. Close your eyes and try to focus on something besides the pain. Place a pillow beneath your head if the elevation helps you feel more comfortable.


Eat only soft foods for a few days after your extraction to minimize pain. While pain is normal for a few days after you have your wisdom teeth removed, contact your dentist if the pain persists longer than a week.