Relieving Discomfort After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Important Tips to Speed Up the Healing Process
If your dentist recommends having your wisdom teeth extracted, you may be unsure of why you need this procedure or how the recovery process will go. Rest assured that most people have their wisdom teeth removed, typically in their late teens or early 20s. It’s a routine surgery that usually goes off without a hitch.
What Are Wisdom Teeth, and Why Are They Removed?
Your third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth, should start to come in as you reach maturity. However, many people don’t have enough room in their mouth for the third row of molars. This may result in partially impacted wisdom teeth, which can cause chewing problems, pain, gum infections, cysts, or even jawbone damage. That’s why many dentists recommend preemptively removing your wisdom teeth before any of these problems can occur.
When you have your wisdom teeth removed, you may experience swelling, bleeding, pain, and bruising. These symptoms are normal, and for most patients, they pass quickly. Still, you want the extraction site to heal as rapidly as possible to avoid dry socket, the most common preventable complication of this surgery. Follow these expert tips to promote healing and relieve any discomfort after wisdom tooth extraction.
Expect some bleeding immediately following the procedure. Place a dry gauze pad over the extraction site and apply gentle pressure for 30 to 45 minutes until a blood clot forms. If the site is still bleeding after this time, change out the gauze pad and resume pressure. Intermittent bleeding may occur for up to two days.
Swelling and mild bruising may occur around your mouth, cheeks, and eyes, reaching its peak two to three days after surgery. To counteract this, wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a towel and hold it to the swollen area in 20-minute increments.
Take Extra Good Care of Your Mouth
Continue to practice recommended oral hygiene at home by brushing and flossing daily. Just be extra careful when brushing around the extraction site. After 12 hours, you can begin gently swishing with diluted mouthwash. You should also use a saltwater rinse five to six times a day, especially after eating, to help prevent infection.
If your dentist placed sutures, be aware that they may fall out while eating or brushing your teeth. If this happens, simply remove the sutures from your mouth and discard them. Otherwise, they should dissolve after about a week, or your dentist may need to remove them. The procedure is quick, requires no needles or anesthesia, and causes minimal discomfort.
Watch What You Eat
Avoid eating and drinking for two hours after your wisdom tooth extraction. Then, introduce cold or lukewarm fluids and soft foods, such as pudding, yogurt, gelatin, smoothies, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal. Avoid eating foods such as popcorn, peanuts, and pasta that may leave particles in the sensitive extraction site. Also, do not suck through a straw for two weeks after surgery, as this could increase the risk of dry socket.
Take Medications as Prescribed
As the anesthesia wears off, you may start to feel sore. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, may be enough to manage your discomfort. Your dentist may also prescribe a stronger analgesic as needed. This medicine can make you drowsy or groggy, so plan to take time off from work or school to recover. Do not drive, work around machinery, or drink alcohol while using prescription pain relievers.
Be Aware of Possible Complications
Any swelling, bleeding, pain, and bruising you experience after wisdom tooth extraction should diminish as the days pass. However, you should contact your dentist if you notice any of the following:
• Swelling that gets worse, not better
• Excessive bleeding that doesn’t subside with pressure
• Throbbing pain that lingers three or four days after wisdom tooth extraction
• Persistent fever
Contact Us for More Information About Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Smiles @ Southcenter performs wisdom tooth extractions in Tukwila, WA. Our experienced dental team is dedicated to helping our patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. We strive to make your time with us comfortable, providing headphones, pillows, blankets, and dark glasses to create a more relaxing atmosphere. We also offer anesthesia and sedation dentistry to make your procedure as pain-free as possible. To learn more about our dental services, or to ask questions about a recent wisdom tooth extraction, please contact us today.