21 June 2021
Wisdom teeth are removed to prevent future serious issues such as gum infection and damage to other teeth.
Recovery after wisdom teeth removal varies from person to person and also depends on the complexity of the procedure.
There are, however, several steps you can take to help ensure a smooth recovery. Here are the most important Do’s and Don’ts to reduce bleeding and swelling and avoid infection.
You can get your wisdom teeth extraction recovery off to a good start immediately after the procedure by:
- Using a fresh gauze dressing every hour, biting down firmly on it, until bleeding stops.
- Getting lots of rest for the first 24 hours.
- Holding an ice pack to your jaw a few times a day for the first 48 hours, 20 minutes at a time.
- Swapping the ice pack for a heat pad over the next 24 hours.
It can take a few weeks for your mouth to heal after wisdom teeth removal, during which time, you should:
- Keep your mouth clean. After the first 24 hours, you can resume normal brushing and flossing but you should do so carefully and avoid the surgical area. Stir a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and gently rinse your mouth several times a day, including after meals.
- Take your medication. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics, make sure you finish the course. Pain relief medication can help to keep you comfortable.
- Watch what you eat. Soft foods are your best bet at first, gradually changing to solids over a few days.
- Open and close your mouth a few times a day to ease stiffness.
- Use an extra pillow in bed to elevate your head.
The Don’ts after wisdom teeth removal are just as important as the Do’s, so for the first 24 hours…
- Don’t use a straw. This could dislodge the blood clot that’s formed and lead to a complication called dry socket.
- Don’t rinse your mouth (it’s OK to brush your teeth gently).
- Avoid carbonated drinks.
For a week or so:
- Don’t spit blood.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Don’t blow your nose – just wipe it gently.
- Don’t eat hard foods such as cereal, nuts, pretzels or popcorn.
Our wisdom teeth extraction checklist will help to ensure a faster, stress-free recovery with minimal discomfort.
And knowing what to expect after the procedure can reduce a lot of anxiety. For instance, immediately after extraction, when the anaesthesia has worn off, you may feel some pain and get swollen cheeks or puffy eyes.
This is normal and can be managed by following our Do’s and Don’ts. However, if you get persistent problems such as heavy bleeding, pain, numbness or swelling, it’s advisable to call your dentist.
Be assured, though, that in the vast majority of cases, wisdom teeth extraction doesn’t require a follow-up appointment unless you need stitches removing. Serious complications are rare and wisdom teeth extraction can avoid severe oral health issues in the future.
Contact Wisdom Teeth Sydney if you’d like to know more about the benefits of wisdom teeth removal or how to look after yourself after extraction.