If you’re like many Americans, you either are about to or recently had your wisdom teeth removed. In fact, the American Dental Association reports that over 5 million Americans each year undergo wisdom teeth removal. So hey, you’re not alone! Keep reading to see our tips for recovering from wisdom teeth removal.
At the Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we’re proud to be your sole accredited oral surgery institution in the region. Dr. McDonough and Dr. Phillips are board-certified experts in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. In Dr. Phillips’ case, he’s been practicing for over 40 years! So we think it’s safe to say they know more than a little about wisdom teeth removal.
We know that you’re probably wondering what comes next. How long will my recovery take? What should I be doing to ensure that I heal correctly? What can I eat? Well, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of tips for recovering from wisdom teeth removal below. Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Some pain and bleeding are normal.
Dr. Phillips or Dr. McDonough will have made a series of incisions in your gums to extract your wisdom teeth. Some swelling and bleeding, along with a degree of discomfort, is expected. Don’t panic!
Your bleeding shouldn’t last much longer than 24 hours as clots begin to form at the extraction site. You’ll want to keep a bin to dispose of gauze as necessary close at hand.
Tip #2 – You need a ride
Since Wisdom teeth removal is an oral surgery requiring local anesthetic administration, it won’t be possible to drive yourself home afterward. Make sure you secure transportation.
Additionally, there’s a good chance you’ll be pretty out of it for at least the first few hours, so it might be a good idea to have someone who can help you get properly set up for recovery afterward.
Pro tip: Don’t let them film you just after surgery unless you want to go viral!
Tip #3 – Bite Down Gently on a Gauze Pad
Biting down gently on a sterile gauze pad will help stop initial bleeding from the extraction site and stimulate clots’ formation. The clots are vital to your recovery, protecting the site and the bone beneath from infection.
Tip #4 – Ice the Wound
Applying an ice pack to the outside of your face and jaw by the extraction site for up to 15 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of rest, will promote clotting, reduce swelling, and provide relief. Be sure and wrap the ice pack in a towel or blanket, as direct contact with the skin can be harmful.
Tip #5 – Keep it Clean!
Maintaining your oral hygiene during wisdom teeth extraction recovery is important to ensure that the healing process goes smoothly.
Take care when brushing near the site to avoid reopening your wounds.
In the following days, begin a light rinse with lukewarm water and salt. Avoid commercial rinses, as they tend to be too strong for your recovering gums. You should rinse at least five times a day, particularly following meals.
Tip #6 – Stick to Soft Foods
Proper nutrition is an important part of the recovery process. Milkshakes are great, but be sure and supplement with soft, easily digested foods such as soups, broths, mashed potatoes, soft pasta, etc. Avocados are great, too!
Tip #7 – Get Plenty of Rest
The less activity in the first few days after surgery, the better. The more rest you get, the less you’re demanding of your body, which lowers blood pressure. This is great for reducing swelling and encouraging healing processes.
Good sleep is likewise essential, as plenty of studies demonstrate that sleep has a major impact on recovery outcomes.
Tip #8 – Avoid Cigarettes, Alcohol, Candy, or Harder Foods
This should be self-evident, but in case you need to hear it, no smoking after wisdom teeth removal! You run the risk of developing a painful condition known as dry socket due to the likelihood of destruction of the blood clot protecting your bone and nerves.
Alcohol can destroy helpful bacteria and promote the growth of unhelpful varietals, increasing the likelihood of infection. Candy runs a similar risk and can disrupt clotting.
Tip #9 – Schedule your Follow-up Appointment
You’ll want to give us a call and come back in after about a week of rest and recovery in order for Dr. Phillips or McDonough to assess your progress and make any recommendations.
And there you have it! Follow these tips, and your wisdom teeth recovery should be as short and comfortable as possible. And remember, for any additional questions and concerns, call us at (870) 931-3000.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for trusting Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial with your oral care!