Tips to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction is a standard procedure for patients between the ages of 15 to 25. Most patients recover within two weeks following their wisdom tooth removal surgery. During your recovery, follow the tips below to ensure your extraction sites heal quickly and without further oral health complications.
After-Care Tips for Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Most patients have anxieties about surgery of any kind, but wisdom teeth extraction surgery is nothing scary. In fact, most people have their wisdom teeth taken out at some point during their lifetime. However, the longer you wait to remove your wisdom teeth, the higher your risk of complications during recovery. Minimize your risk of developing complications and optimize your recovery by following these after-care tips:
Be Gentle when Biting Down on Gauze
Following your extraction, your surgeon will instruct you to bite down on a gauze pad to help the extraction site form a clot and stop bleeding. The extraction site needs to create a blood clot to guard the surgical area against infection during the healing process. Be sure to use gentle pressure when biting down on the gauze to allow a clot to form. If you bite down too hard on the gauze pad, you might disrupt the clot and cause more bleeding.
Follow Your Surgeon’s Pain Management Instructions
Your oral surgeon will give you a prescription pain relief medication to use during your recovery. Most patients use the prescription pain medication for the first 48 to 72 hours of recovery. After the first few days of recovery, many patients can manage pain with an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication, like ibuprofen. If your surgeon prescribes an antibiotic, complete the entire regimen. You make your body more vulnerable to infection if you stop taking the antibiotic when symptoms improve. Bacteria will form a resistance to the antibiotic if you don’t finish the course of treatment.
Use Ice Packs to Reduce Facial Swelling
Ice packs are excellent for managing facial swelling during the first 48 to 72 hours after wisdom teeth extraction surgery. Place the ice pack over the extraction site, where swelling and bruising are evident. Hold the ice over the swollen area for about 20 minutes at a time. The rule of thumb is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
Adhere to a Soft Food Diet During Recovery
You must stick to a soft-food diet during your recovery, but ensure you aren’t eating empty calories. Your body needs nutrient-rich food to heal quickly and efficiently, but solid foods can disrupt the healing process. Prepare highly nutritious soft-diet meals, such as smoothies, mashed vegetables, blended soups, and avocados. Try to avoid overly sugar-rich foods, like milkshakes.
Keep Your Oral Cavity Clean
Immediately following your wisdom teeth extraction, the surrounding area will feel tender. Most patients can brush their teeth once a blood clot has formed over the extraction site. However, brushing too vigorously can easily disrupt and dislodge the clot. It is vital to keep your mouth clean while not disrupting the healing process. During the first 24 to 36 hours after surgery, you might prefer to rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. Use a warm saltwater solution to cleanse your mouth after every meal, upon waking, and before going to sleep.
Rest and Avoid Strenuous Activity
The extraction surgery takes a significant toll on your body, so get plenty of rest following your wisdom teeth removal procedure. Avoid heavy lifting and physical exertion during your recovery, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep. Your body requires seven to nine hours of sleep for optimal recovery. The less stress you place on your blood vessels, the faster you will see a reduction in swelling.
Do Not Use Straws, Cigarettes, or Tobacco Products
While your mouth is healing, do not use straws or cigarettes to avoid developing a painful condition called dry socket. When you close your lips around a straw or cigarette, you create a vacuum that can easily dislodge the blood clots over your extraction sites. And do not use tobacco products, like chewable or pouch tobacco, to avoid oral infections.
About a week after your extraction, during your follow-up appointment, your oral surgeon will confirm that your mouth has healed correctly and you are no longer at risk of dislodging the blood clot. Your recovery can take up to two full weeks before you feel ready to return to your regular diet and routine. Most patients experience a complete reduction in swelling and bruising between one and two weeks post-operative. Call our office to schedule a consultation for your wisdom teeth extraction.
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