When someone has their wisdom teeth come in, it often requires surgery to remove them for the health of the person’s mouth. Wisdom teeth can be impacted in the gums, or they can erupt and be too difficult to clean. This can make them vulnerable to decay, and they can drag the teeth around them down as well. They may also move the teeth into crooked positions unless they are removed. Wisdom tooth removal is a common surgery we offer at DFW Oral Surgeons, and it’s an important one to have for your oral health.
After the Tooth Extraction
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, you can expect some pain and swelling in the area. It will likely be sore for a few days after the surgery. Generally, it starts to feel better after day three post-surgery. It’s also common to have some bruising in the area, and the area around your eyes may have some swelling. While the surgical site starts feeling better after three days, it won’t be fully healed in that amount of time. It will still need time to fully heal and to stop feeling sore.
After your surgery, you will have a pack of cotton gauze that is on top of the site of the incision. It’s important to keep that gauze in place, and you will likely be told to gently bite it down to keep it in place. As the gauze gets used up, you can replace it with the gauze given to you after the surgery. You will likely have to replace the gauze every 30 minutes to an hour for the first few hours.
It’s important to keep this gauze in place until the bleeding stops. To help it to stop bleeding, don’t lie down on your back. If you lie flat on your back, blood can pool around the incision site. It’s best to sleep and lie down on pillows for the three days after surgery or longer.
Taking Care of the Incisions
Part of your healing depends on you. On the day of your surgery, it’s a good idea to relax for the rest of the day. A blood clot forms over the incision site to keep the socket protected, and it’s important to keep it in place. If you exercise or do strenuous activities, it can cause the blood clot to become removed from the incision sites. This can cause a painful condition caused by dry socket.
Another way to avoid developing dry socket is to not smoke or drink out of a straw. The motion that the mouth makes when you are sucking can also cause the blood clot to become dislodged and leave the socket without protection. Drink water often so that your mouth doesn’t get too dry. It’s not a good idea to drink anything hot or that contains caffeine, alcohol or a lot of sugar.
It will be helpful to your healing if you put an ice pack on the incision area occasionally for about 20 minutes during the 24 to 48 hours after your surgery. After the 48-hour mark, ice will no longer be effective. Putting crushed ice in a baggie is an easy way to do this. Using ice can help to reduce some of the swelling caused by the surgery. After 48 hours, change to holding a heat pack up to the area.
It’s also important not to eat hard and/or crunchy foods for the first couple of days, as these foods can dislodge the blood clot. It’s smart to eat only soft foods during those days. These can include a thin soup, yogurt, gelatin, pudding, etc. After about two or three days, you can start putting harder foods back into your diet.
As you heal, you need to keep brushing your teeth, though it needs to be done carefully. It’s often recommended that you mix up some warm salt water and use it to rinse your mouth. This can help with both the pain and swelling. It’s often recommended to do this about five to six times a day, with some of those times being right after eating a meal.
Help Your Body to Heal
The surgeon may give you one or more prescriptions. Make sure that you take them as prescribed or recommended in order to help with the pain and any other issues. If you were given antibiotics, be sure to take the entire course of antibiotics. If you stop taking them partway through the course, it can cause strong bacteria to grow in your mouth.
It’s important to get plenty of rest after your surgery. When you sleep, try not to sleep on the side of your body where the incision site is.
If you put a wet tea bag on your incision site, it can reduce the amount of bleeding. Tannic acid is one substance in tea, and this can make blood vessels contract, helping the bleeding to stop. Simply put the tea bag on the incision site and keep it there by biting down on it. Keep it there for 20 to 30 minutes.
After your surgery, your body will have some healing to do, so make sure to help it along as well as taking steps to be more comfortable.
Still have questions? Contact DFW Oral Surgeons today!