Wisdom teeth are your final set of molars to come in. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties. While some individuals do not need to have these teeth extracted, many people do.
Having your wisdom teeth removed has a variety of benefits to your oral health which include:
- Preventing teeth from crowding.
- Avoiding tooth decay and gum disease.
- Preventing a wisdom tooth from getting stuck in your jaw.
Here are some tips for recovering after your wisdom teeth have been extracted:
- Schedule your surgery near the end of your school or work week to ensure you’ll have proper time to recover.
- Stock up on movies, books, and games as you’ll be resting in bed or on the couch for at least a day or two. Give yourself as much time to recover as you need.
- Be careful when your mouth is numb after leaving your surgery. Avoid biting your lips or tongue.
- Don’t touch the extraction site in your mouth with your tongue or fingers.
- You may experience bleeding, pain, or swelling. Slow bleeding is normal for 24-48 hours after surgery.
- Contact your dentist if you develop dry sockets or if you experience any of these symptoms after the first 24 hours: bleeding, numbness in your lips or mouth, or extreme nausea.
- Use an ice pack to ease pain and decrease swelling.
- Elevate your head to decrease swelling.
- Remember to stay hydrated! It will help your mouth heal quicker.
- Do not drink out of straws. This can be bad for the clots in your mouth.
- Set timers on your phone to make sure you take medication at the right times.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. This helps to stop bacteria from infecting your wounds.
- After 24 hours, resume your regular brushing and flossing. If this is uncomfortable or painful, brush gently. Be sure to be gentle around your extraction site in particular. But it’s important to keep your mouth clean and healthy to promote fast healing.
- Avoid exercising and other strenuous physical activity for the week following your surgery.
- Use heat packs 24-48 hours after surgery to relieve pain.
- Skip foods that require chewing. Instead, eat foods like: apple sauce, soup broth, ice cream, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, pudding, smoothies, yogurt, cottage cheese, or Jell-O.
- Avoid foods like tapioca pudding where small particles could get stuck in your extraction site and infect it.
- Don’t eat foods that are spicy.
- Avoid tobacco as it is harmful to your body’s healing process. We recommend always avoiding it because it is bad for your oral health – and overall health – at any time.
- Jaw exercises can help with stiffness after surgery.