Wisdom tooth extractions are one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, with approximately 10 million Americans having undergone the procedure. Patient recovery from wisdom teeth extractions typically takes a couple of days. The recovery period depends on the stage in which the tooth was pulled out—a tooth impacted in the jawbone requires more recovery time than a tooth that is fully erupted—as well as how many teeth are extracted at once. In general, here are some tips on caring for your mouth after extraction:
1. Return home and rest immediately after the surgery.
You should try to schedule your wisdom tooth extraction so that you have at least one day free for the recovery period. Patients who have received general anesthetic should not operate any mechanical equipment or drive a motor vehicle for at least 12 hours after surgery, so make sure you have someone to drive you home afterward. When you arrive home, lay down with your head elevated until the anesthetic effects have disappeared. As with any other surgery, extractions put stress on the body, so it is important that you rest and do not overtax yourself.
2. Control the bleeding.
It is normal for blood to appear in your saliva for up to two days after your wisdom tooth extraction. Your dentist or oral surgeon will most likely provide you with enough gauze to place over the tooth socket. You should apply pressure by biting down firmly on the gauze for at least one hour. If the heavy bleeding persists, reposition the gauze so that it is directly on the site and bite firmly for one hour. If that does not stop the bleeding, replace the gauze with a tea bag that is not herbal. After soaking the tea bag in hot water, squeeze it dry, wrap it in gauze, and bite down on it firmly for 30 minutes. Should the bleeding continue, call your dentist or oral surgeon.
3. Eat only soft foods for the first day, and make sure to eat nutritional foods throughout the healing process.
Foods such as applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, soup, and pudding are all good foods to eat after a wisdom tooth extraction. Once you can tolerate solid foods, make sure to eat nutritional foods that will not get stuck in your teeth. You should avoid foods with small pieces that have the potential to get stuck in your teeth (such as popcorn and nuts) until the site of extraction has completely healed.
4. Modify your oral hygiene routine so you do not disturb the site of extraction.
Following your surgery, you must take care not to disturb the surgical area. Bite down firmly on the gauze pack placed over the surgical site. Do not change the gauze until one hour after surgery, so that you can allow for blood clot formation at the surgical site. Replace your gauze pack with a new pack every hour.
The morning after surgery, you should start rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (one teaspoon of table salt in one cup of water) the morning following surgery. You should do this three to four times a day for one-two more weeks. The morning after surgery, you may resume tooth brushing. You should take care not to forcefully spit as your mouth is healing.
5. Minimize swelling.
To minimize swelling, apply cold packs or ice wrapped in a towel for 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off. You should repeat this cycle one-two days after surgery. Swelling peaks at 48 hour; after 48 hours, you may apply a heating pad or warm, damp washcloth to the area. You should also keep the head elevated for the first 48 hours to minimize swelling.
6. Use pain medication as prescribed.
After the local anesthetic wears off (about one to three hours after surgery), it may be difficult for you to control your pain. Once you feel sensation returning, take your pain medication as prescribed. Do not take more pain medication than prescribed, and do not wait until maximal pain to use pain relievers. It is advised that you take medication with foot and water to prevent the upset stomach and nausea side effects that sometimes come with pain relievers.
As everyone’s recovery may be different, it is important that you consult with your dentist or oral surgeon for specific instructions as to how to care for your wisdom tooth extraction. To learn more about wisdom teeth extraction, visit http://www.wisdomteethjoliet.com.
About Dr. Babiuk:
Dr. Babiuk specializes in oral and maxillofacial surgery meaning that he treats and diagnoses complications of the neck, head, jaw, face, mouth and teeth. It is required that oral surgeons complete an additional 4-7 years of hospital training to become fully trained and specialized in their field.
About The Centre for Oral Surgery in Joliet:
Dr. Babiuk and his team are dedicated to informing patients about all of their options when it comes to deciding on an oral surgery. They have made it their top priority to put the patient first, providing them with the best and most comfortable dental surgery in Joliet.