You've got an oral surgeon appointment, you're ready to wave goodbye to your wisdom teeth - but are you ready to take care of yourself post-surgery?
The extraction of wisdom teeth is a surgical procedure that should be taken seriously, and making sure that you know what to do when you get home is vital for your recovery. Be wise, even after surgery.
Here are out helpful suggestions to make sure that you reduce the chance of unnecessary pain, swelling, bleeding and other complications.
Unfortunately, pain is to be expected after wisdom tooth extraction. Your mouth and gums will have experienced a significant amount of trauma, and the pain goes hand in hand with this while you recover.
There are plenty of ways to offset this and make sure you're as comfortable as possible. After your surgery, your oral surgeon will likely provide you with pain relief. It's important to follow the instructions given correctly, and take your pain relief medication as recommended.
How quickly it can be before your pain reduces is entirely dependent on the severity of the tooth impaction and how it was erupting. It can range from anywhere between a few days to a week.
If ever you feel you're experiencing an unusual level of pain or discomfort, get in touch with your oral surgeon for advice.
For the first 24 hours after your surgery, expect slight bleeding or redness in your saliva. That's a normal part of the process as the site of surgery begins to clot and heal.
A gauze pad will immediately be placed over the surgical site to apply pressure and help reduce bleeding.
Gently wipe away any excess blood from your mouth, avoid excessive rinsing or exercise which may increase blood flow, and treat your mouth with extra care.
The bleeding will naturally reduce as your gums heal. If the bleeding persists, again, it's important to get in touch with your oral surgeon for advice.
A lot of people only expect to experience swelling of the gums post-op - but this usually isn't the case. Often the swelling extends to the mouth, cheeks, eyes and side of the face, especially if more than one tooth was removed (it's usually proportionate to the extent of surgery). This is due to bruising and is the body's natural response to surgery in the process of healing.
That being said, you can do a few things to help minimise swelling. For the first two to three days, we'd recommend applying an ice pack to the side of your face. If swelling persists any further, the application of moist heat (usually by wetting a flannel with warm water) is also likely to help.
Often, taking your prescribed pain medication can assist with the swelling. If you're taking the right precautionary steps, you should be able to minimise the time it takes for your mouth to recover.
This is usually the biggest question oral surgeons are faced with - what can I eat after surgery?
It's important to stay hydrated once you get out of surgery to give your body the best chance for recovery. Drink lots of lukewarm water and avoid using straws as the sucking motion can dislodge the clot and cause more bleeding.
As for the first food you consume, do your best to eat soft foods such as soups, eggs or mashed potato, and make sure to chew away from the site of surgery. If you can stick to a high calorie and protein diet, that's ideal for quick recovery.
What should you avoid?
Anything that could easily get lodged in the surgical site is a red flag. Eating foods like popcorn, nuts or pasta could leave residue behind and cause infection. Treat your surgical site like an open wound, and avoid getting anything foreign in there that shouldn't be.
What to do if something isn't right?
The answer to that is simple. Consult your oral surgeon.
At NSOMS we really care about our customers' oral health, before, during AND after surgery. Feel free to get in touch if you're concerned and we'll make sure you get the best care.
We've written a list of helpful post-operation information here. If pain persists, give us a call or get in touch for an appointment.
If you're not quite at the stage of booking an appointment and want to know whether wisdom tooth extraction is right you, we've put together a helpful blog on what causes wisdom teeth problems.