After wisdom teeth removal procedures, having a proper aftercare routine is an essential part of promoting healing of the surgical site. Your dentist will usually review many home care steps with you before and after your surgery, but most likely you will not remember so they typically provide them to you in print as well. If you are taking pain medications or feel groggy then it is best to have someone helping you who is also familiar with the aftercare procedures as well.
- Follow written home care instructions from your doctor
- Have a family member assist you in the first day after wisdom teeth removal
- Expect a general healing time of 10-14 days
Most of the special steps required after wisdom teeth removal will only last for a week or so. Generally healing time lasts between 10-14 days, and then normal oral care routines return to normal. Before that time special care needs to be taken so that healing can occur properly and side effects such as infections of dry sockets can be avoided.
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Swelling or Bruising
- Alternate a hot and cold compress on the first day
- Use cold compress on the day or two following the procedure
Limiting recovery time after wisdom tooth removal greatly depends on how well you care for your mouth and body. During the first day alternating the use of hot and cold compresses on the side of the jaw can alleviate swelling and bruising that otherwise might occur after the surgery. After the first day then just use cold compresses on the area and alternate equal time with the compress on and off so that you do not cause any tissue irritation from ice inside of the compress.
- Rinse with warm salt water
- Wait 2-3 days before brushing your teeth after wisdom teeth removal
On the first day, do not rinse the mouth or brush the teeth, as irritation might occur at the surgical site. After the first day has passed, rinse with warm salt water every 3-4 hours to alleviate swelling and cleanse the mouth. Continue rinsing for several days. Wait at least a day before resuming toothbrushing, so as not to introduce bacteria into the surgical site. Then, only brush the surrounding teeth paying close attention to avoid the surgical site.
Medication After Teeth Removal
- Take an anti inflammatory such as ibuprophen
- Take all medication with food
- Take all medication as directed
Take an anti inflammatory medication such as iburophen as directed after wisdom teeth removal, to decrease swelling of the surgical site. Your dentist may prescribe a prescription strength pain reliever to use to manage discomfort, or will direct you to take a certain amount of over the counter ibuprophen throughout the day.
Do not take medication on an empty stomach. Doing so can cause severe stomach cramping or nausea depending on what medication is being taken. Many people may suspect they are allergic to a medication because it causes stomach cramps, when in reality they just need to have more food in the stomach when they take the medication. If you do experience allergic reaction symptoms such as rash, difficulty breathing, or diarrhea, then speak with your dentist to find an alternative medication to manage your symptoms.
Preventing Dry Socket
- Dry sockets can take 2 or more weeks for pain to subside
- Do not smoke
- Do not drink through a straw
- Some people may be more predisposed to developing dry socket
Please be extremely careful to follow home care instructions so as not to increase the risk of developing dry sockets, a painful condition that is a fairly common side effect after teeth removal. They typically take 2 or more weeks for the pain to subside if they happen to occur.
Things like drinking through a straw or smoking can contribute to the chance of dry socket, though the condition may just happen to occur even in patients that do not do this. Using a straw following extraction may cause the blood clot to dislodge, exposing the jawbone and allowing for infection to occur.
Smoking causes inadequate blood circulation in the mouth by encouraging atrophy of the blood vessels. This makes it extremely difficult for the body to heal surgical sites such as extractions and will also contribute to other oral diseases such as periodontal or gum disease.
Women that take oral contraceptive medication may be at an increased risk to develop dry sockets. Please do not discontinue taking your contraceptive medication without consulting your medical practitioner.