Wisdom teeth will often start developing in your teenage years or early twenties. For some people, they may not cause problems. However, for many people, wisdom tooth removal is necessary, as they can lead to issues such as overcrowding or impacting as the roots develop. As wisdom tooth extraction is a form of major surgery, it is normal for pain, swelling, and discomfort after the process. So, what can you do to speed up your recovery? Here are some tips and aftercare advice following on from wisdom teeth extraction.
How long does recovery take?
Recovery time can vary and depends on how badly the wisdom teeth were impacted and how they erupted. However, on average, recovery can take anywhere from around 3-4 days to up to two weeks for full recovery. To help with the recovery process, it is important to properly care for your wound, as well as engaging in appropriate mouth care and cleaning routines.
How to Speed Up Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery
Following on from your tooth extraction, you are likely to experience some bleeding, discomfort, swelling, and pain. Dry socket is a common surgical complication that can also occur, however, with the right care this can be avoided. Dry socket develops when the newly formed blood clot in the tooth socket becomes dislodged, exposing bone and nerving endings and resulting in severe pain. To prevent this from occurring, you should avoid vigorous mouth rinsing and avoid using a straw when drinking. From about 12-24 hours after surgery, you can gently rinse your mouth with a salt water solution. This is important to help keep your mouth clean. You should also carefully brush your teeth, but make sure to avoid the surgical area.
In the first few hours after surgery, your main priority should be resting on a bed or couch. Make sure to avoid bending, lifting, exercise or strenuous activity as this can increase bleeding, swelling and pain. You should also try to keep your head elevated in the first few days by sleeping with pillows so that your upper body is at a 45-degree angle. This will help you recover faster by allowing for proper drainage and helping the swelling to go down.
Swelling is normal in the days after surgery. However, you can help to reduce swelling by applying an ice pack to the cheek area adjacent to the wound. Apply this ice pack intermittently, with 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
Most severe pain occurs in the 6 hours after the anesthetic has worn off. You will usually have a prescription for a pain medication from your dentist, which you can take to help reduce the pain.
What can I eat after wisdom teeth extraction?
In the first few hours after surgery, you should limit eating, drinking and talking. In the subsequent days, try to avoid consuming solid foods, alcohol, soft drinks and hot beverages. You should avoid foods such as rice, nuts, seeds or popcorn which could get lodged in the wound. Also, make sure to avoid carbonated beverages which could potentially dislodge the blood clot. It is advisable to eat liquid or pureed foods such as soups, puddings, yoghurts, milkshakes, mashed potato, pureed fruits, etc.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a painful and uncomfortable process. However, taking the correct aftercare steps to look after your wound can help prevent further complications over time and speed up the recovery process. Pain and swelling should reduce over time, however, if the symptoms worsen or if you experience excessive bleeding that won’t subside, you should get in contact with your dentist. At Superior Smiles we perform thorough diagnostic investigations during your regular check-ups to manage wisdom teeth development and removal. So, if you are unsure about whether you need wisdom teeth removal, or are experiencing pain, be sure to get in contact!