Wisdom Tooth Removal: Tips for Fast Recovery

Wisdom tooth removal surgery is a safe and common procedure and can be beneficial for overall oral health.

November 15, 2023 Written By: Joyce Kahng, DDS

Are you preparing for a wisdom tooth removal? Wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure a fast recovery. In this blog post, we’ll discuss tips for a speedy recovery after wisdom tooth removal, including what to expect immediately after surgery, the recovery process at home, food choices, pain management, and when to visit your dentist. With the right care, you’ll be feeling back to normal in no time.

Immediately After Your Wisdom Tooth Removal

Having your wisdom teeth removed is a common dental procedure, and it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions for aftercare. It is normal to experience some pain and swelling after wisdom tooth removal surgery, so it’s important to take any prescribed pain medications as directed by the dentist. When you do, this will help limit complications for a faster and more comfortable recovery process.

It’s best to plan ahead, as you’ll need to have all of the supplies ready at home for your recovery. Such as medications filled, soft foods on hand, plenty of fluids, and a comfortable place to rest with your head propped up. You may also find it helpful to use an ice pack to reduce swelling and discomfort. By following these steps for immediate recovery after wisdom tooth removal, you can help ensure that you heal quickly and properly.

At Home Recovery

Immediately following wisdom tooth removal, your recovery process is only just beginning. On the same day of the surgery, you will want to rest at home and avoid any strenuous activities. During the first 24 hours after your wisdom tooth removal, be sure to practice proper oral hygiene, take medications as prescribed, and eat soft foods that are easy to chew.

Since you’ll likely be sedated for your procedure, it’s important to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first several hours, until the medication wears off.

It’s extremely important to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or engaging in any strenuous activities. These can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of developing a dry socket. It is also important to avoid drinking through a straw as the suction can dislodge the blood clot formed over the extraction site.

It is not uncommon for some swelling and discomfort to occur in the few days following the surgery. To reduce swelling and pain, apply a cold compress to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. It may also help to take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with discomfort unless your dentist advises something different. If they prescribe an antibiotic, be sure to take the entire dose as directed, every day.

If you notice any unusual symptoms such as fever, prolonged pain or swelling, or excessive bleeding, be sure to contact your dentist right away. Proper at-home care is essential for successful healing after having your wisdom teeth removed.

Foods to Eat After Having Wisdom Teeth Removed

Soft and liquid foods are the best for healing after wisdom teeth removal. Try to stick to easy-to-chew, healthy options such as mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, soup, and smoothies. Soft fruits such as bananas, peaches, and pears are also good choices. Protein-rich foods like eggs, fish and lean meat that have been cut into small pieces can be eaten as well.

Avoid crunchy, hard, or spicy foods that could irritate the surgical area and delay healing for at least a week.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids (but no alcohol and be sure to limit the caffeine.) Also, stay away from straws to avoid getting dry sockets. Within a week or two, you should be able to transition back to a normal diet.

Managing Pain From Wisdom Tooth Removal

After having your wisdom teeth removed, you can expect to experience some degree of discomfort and swelling. In most cases, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are sufficient in managing this discomfort and symptoms tend to peak around day 2 or 3. It’s important to take these medications as directed and not to exceed the recommended dosage. If antibiotics are prescribed, it is important to take them exactly as instructed, for the full course of treatment, to avoid any potential infection.

Applying an ice pack or cold compress can also help with pain relief and reduce swelling, which is one of the most common causes of pain after wisdom tooth removal. Additionally, rinsing your mouth with salt water can help keep your mouth clean, promote healing, and decrease the risk of post-operative discomfort.

When to Call Your Dentist

If you experience any serious swelling, bleeding, or pain after wisdom teeth removal it is important to call your dentist. In some cases, dry sockets can occur, which is a complication that may arise in certain circumstances after the extraction of wisdom teeth. Dry sockets happen when the blood clot that naturally forms after an extraction fails to form and heal properly, causing it to come loose or fall out. This can lead to pain and increased risk of infection and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

Your dentist will also be able to advise you on what medication and pain relief strategies to take while recovering from your wisdom teeth removal procedure to limit these complications (such as no exercise or drinking through a straw.) Make sure to keep in touch with your dental office if you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms or if you have any questions or concerns.

Wisdom Tooth Removal is a Safe, Common Procedure

Wisdom tooth removal surgery is a safe and common procedure. It can be beneficial for overall oral health because it helps to prevent overcrowding and reduce the risk of impacted teeth or damage to your surrounding smile. By removing wisdom teeth, you can reduce your risk of infection and gum disease around impacted or hard-to-clean third molars.

Smile Smarter,
Dr. Joyce

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