Read on to discover the best wisdom teeth removal recovery tips to ensure a smooth-sailing recovery after your surgery here.
Did you know that every year, five million Americans undergo wisdom teeth removal? Or that 10 million wisdom teeth get extracted each year?
Granted, not all wisdom teeth require extraction. However, this is often necessary for 12% of truly impacted teeth. Moreover, around 10% of third molars develop an infection.
In these cases, more serious conditions like cysts may be present. These impacted teeth can also cause damage to the adjacent teeth.
If you need to get a wisdom tooth removed, it’s likely you feel worried about the surgery. Don’t be, as there are several wisdom teeth removal recovery tips that you can follow. With these, you can prevent the potential side effects of the procedure.
Ready to learn all about what to do after wisdom teeth removal? Then keep reading, as that’s exactly what we’ll share with you in this post!
What to Expect After the Extraction of Your Wisdom Tooth
To remove an impacted wisdom tooth, your dentist may need to make an incision in your gums. This will allow the surgeon to get to the roots of your affected tooth and properly pull it out.
This makes wisdom tooth removal a minimally-invasive process. It’s still surgery though, so it’s best to set your expectations and prepare for some pain and swelling
Nausea from the Local Anesthesia
Wisdom teeth removal is an out-patient type of oral surgery. Still, the dentist needs to apply local anesthesia, the effects of which may last until the next day.
If you have dental anxiety, talk to your oral surgeon about sedation dentistry. This can make you feel more at ease and comfortable throughout the procedure.
Local anesthesia allergy is extremely rare, with a study finding that it occurs in only 0.5% of patients. It may still cause some side effects though, such as nausea and vomiting. Your mouth may also continue to feel numb a few hours after the surgery.
That said, it’s best to have someone go with you to your wisdom teeth removal. This way, they can assist and support you in case you still feel dizzy from the anesthesia.
Possible Pain and Swelling in the Gums
Once the effects of the anesthesia wear off, you may start to feel some pain and swelling in your cheeks. Again, don’t worry, as this is a normal part of the wisdom teeth recovery process. Both the pain and inflammation will subside in a few days.
Bleeding from the Extraction Site
It’s normal for the gums where your wisdom tooth used to be to bleed right after the procedure. This should only last for the first few hours though. Blood clots will soon form — within the first 24 hours — after your surgery.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery Tips: What to Do for Proper and Faster Healing
Having your wisdom tooth removed doesn’t have to be scary nor does it have to be super painful. Just make sure you follow these tips on what to do after wisdom teeth removal so you can heal faster.
1. Bite Down Gently on a Gauze Pad
Your dentist may ask you to bite down on a gauze pad to stop the bleeding in the extraction site. Doing so also helps form blood clots in the gums faster. Blood clots are vital to your recovery, as they protect the exposed bone and the wound from infection.
Make sure that you bite down gently though, so as not to reopen the wound. You may also have to bite down on the pad for five minutes or so until the bleeding stops.
2. Ice It
Wisdom teeth removal pain relief strategies often include icing the jaw and cheek. This also helps ease the bruising and swelling that may follow your surgery.
Apply an ice pack to the side of the extraction site for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, take the ice pack off and let your face rest for 20 minutes before icing it again. Do this as much as possible for the first 36 to 48 hours after your procedure.
3. Follow Your Dentist’s Pain Medication Prescription
Depending on your pain tolerance, ibuprofen like Advil may be enough for wisdom teeth removal pain relief. If not, then be sure to follow your dentist’s prescription for stronger pain killers.
You may also have to take antibiotics to combat and prevent infections. However, you should complete the prescribed dosage even if the swelling has gone down. Stop the treatment too soon, and the bacteria in your mouth can become resistant to the drugs.
4. Make Sure Your Mouth Stays Clean
Your dentist may allow you to brush your teeth on the same night of your surgery. Be very gentle when brushing the area nearest the extraction site though. This will help keep the blood clot from becoming dislodged.
You may rinse your mouth the day after the surgery. For this, use warm salt water instead of commercial rinses, which can be too strong. Do this at least five times a day, especially after every meal.
5. Stick to Soft Foods
A nutritious diet is even more important after getting your wisdom teeth removed. Nutrient-packed meals will help ease swelling and reduce the risks of complications. These meals will also hasten your body’s wound-healing process.
Since you have a wound though, you should stick to soft and easy-to-chew foods. These include blended soups, broths, mashed vegetables, avocados, and Jell-O.
6. Rest as Much as You Can
You can resume your usual activities after the procedure, but make sure to get plenty of rest. Your body will heal faster by doing so. Do your best to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep too.
Enough sleep, especially right after the surgery, can help reduce swelling. That’s because you’re demanding less from your heart, which then leads to a drop in your blood pressure. This reduced pressure then results in reduced strain on your blood vessels.
A study has also confirmed that proper sleep speeds up the body’s healing process. Injured patients who slept normally took only 4.2 days to completely heal. Whereas those who lacked sleep took almost a day more to fully recover from their injuries.
What You Shouldn’t Do During Your Wisdom Teeth Recovery
If there are things you can do for proper wisdom teeth aftercare, there are also some that you should avoid.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the don’ts after wisdom teeth removal.
Drink Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol can kill “the good” bacteria in your mouth while allowing the bad ones to remain. When this happens, it can impede your healing. With more bad bacteria in your mouth, your surgical wound is at a higher risk of infections.
That said, skip the alcohol for at least 48 hours after having your wisdom tooth removed. If possible, don’t drink any alcoholic beverages for a week until you’re 100% healed.
Eat Sugary Candies (Even the Soft or Chewy Ones)
Avoid eating any type of sugary candy, be it the hard ones (like lollipops) or caramels. These foods contain a lot of sugar, which the bad bacteria in your mouth love to feast on. Eating these sweets will speed up the formation of plaque on your teeth and gums.
Remember: you need to be extra gentle when brushing after the surgery. If you eat sugary stuff, you may not be able to remove the small bits that get stuck on your teeth. The bacteria will multiply, and your wound may end up getting infected.
Dine on Hard or Crunchy Foods
Potato chips, nuts, and cereals should be off your meal plan during your recovery. They can pierce your gums and re-open your surgical wound. When this happens, it’ll take more time for you to completely heal from your operation.
Smoke Cigarettes or Use Electronic Cigarettes
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. These chemicals can irritate and even cause serious infections to your wound.
You should also avoid using electronic cigarettes, as they can also dry your mouth. Not having enough saliva can irritate your gums and increase its risk for infections.
If you smoke or use e-cigarettes, avoid them for at least the next 48 hours after your surgery. Better yet, do your best to quit. Smoking not only causes tooth discoloration — it also makes you more prone to gum diseases.
Follow These Tips for Faster Recovery After Wisdom Tooth Removal
There you have it, the ultimate list of must-follow wisdom teeth removal recovery tips. Although severe complications are very rare, you still want to heal as fast as you can. So, be sure to keep these dos and don’ts in mind following your wisdom tooth extraction.
Still worried about getting your wisdom tooth removed and the possible side effects? Don’t worry, as our team here at Chloe Dental can help ensure your speedy recovery! Get in touch with us now so you can schedule your wisdom tooth removal ASAP.