Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure, but many people are scared of the surgery itself – as well as the aftercare it involves. However, there are several things you can do to minimize your level of discomfort and make sure that healing goes smoothly. Here are some top tips for recovering from wisdom tooth surgery.
On the day of your surgery, you will still need to look after your other teeth – but don’t start brushing like you’re used to doing. Use a gentle prescription mouth rinse, or lukewarm salt water, about 12 hours after your surgery.
Keep the Swelling Down with Ice and Compresses
Applying ice packs to your face in 20-minute increments will help reduce swelling and pain, and will help you start gently moving your jaw after surgery. Don’t leave them on for too long, and don’t use them for more than a couple of days. If the swelling doesn’t start to go down after that point in time, consult your dental surgeon.
Make Sure to Take Your Medicine
Your dentist might prescribe medications to you to prevent infection and reduce pain. If you’re given an antibiotic, make sure that you take all of the pills, even if you feel better. If you’re prescribed a narcotic painkiller, such as Vicodin, do not drink alcohol, drive, or use heavy machinery.
Stick to Clear Liquids and Soft Foods
You’ll want to avoid irritating the sockets for the first few days after your surgery – but you also need to eat! Make sure that you have plenty of cool, non-carbonated drinks on hand, such as water, juice or pureed fruits and vegetables. Do not use a straw, as this can increase the risk of dry socket. Pudding is also a great choice, but pass on the pistachio flavor! You will need to avoid foods like pasta, popcorn, and nuts, as these can leave particles in your mouth that could end up in your sockets and cause issues.
Know When to Call Your Surgeon
As time goes on, your mouth will feel less stiff and your jaw won’t be as sore. However, if the swelling fails to go down or gets worse, you can’t stop any bleeding from your sockets, and you suddenly develop a fever that won’t go away, call your surgeon for advice as soon as possible.