If you didn’t know, wisdom teeth removal is a type of surgical procedure. Therefore, after your wisdom tooth is extracted, you must follow post-operative care to prevent any further complications, ease the pain, and to avoid infection. Is this right for you? Find out when wisdom teeth extraction is necessary.
The Importance of Post Operative Recovery
After you have your wisdom tooth extracted, expect to feel pain, bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. This is normal. Take medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Some patients can recover in a matter of days; others have a slower recovery time than usual. Whatever the case, it is crucial to take care of the extracted area to help you recover quickly and prevent the occurrence of a dry socket.
Learn when a Dental extraction is necessary.
What is a Dry Socket?
When your wisdom tooth gets extracted, blood will flow through it until it starts to clot. The blood clot helps to heal the extracted site and to protect it. With this condition, the clot is dislodged, dissolves too early, or it does not form at all. This leaves the bone, tissue, and nerve endings exposed.
It is not very common, but there are things you do that can put you at risk. It usually occurs during the first few weeks after the extraction.
What Complications can Develop from a Dry Socket?
The most common complication is delayed healing. Infections could occur, but it is not that common. If you have symptoms of infection, you need to call your physician immediately.
- fever and chills
- pus or discharge from the extraction site
Who is at Risk?
Doctors do not yet fully understand what exactly causes this to occur. However, it is likely to happen to certain people under certain conditions:
- Not following post-surgery instructions
- Removing the gauze inside the mouth too early.
- Smoking after the surgery.
- Having denser jawbones.
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Wisdom Tooth Aftercare
To prevent this and other complications, you need to follow post-operative care instructions given to you before you leave the office. Below are some of those:
- You can expect a certain amount of bleeding, pain, discomfort and selling – these are all normal.
- For at least 48 hours, avoid spitting, drinking through a straw and smoking. This is crucial to your recovery.
- Reduce your activity as much as you can for several hours. Avoid unnecessary eating, drinking and talking.
- Do not rinse for 24 hours
- Ice – Apply an ice pack up against the cheek side of the surgical site for 15-20 minutes on and off, for a total of one hour. Alternate if your extractions are on both sides. Continue this for the next 3 – 4 hours. This greatly reduces the chance of swelling.
- Pressure – If you are bleeding, maintain pressure on the area by biting the gauze provided. Gently remove the gauze and replace it with a fresh folded pad every 30 minutes, or as needed. If you run out of gauze a tea bag is a good substitute. Continue biting on the gauze until bleeding stops or just barely evident. This is extremely important. The pressure greatly reduces the chance of facial discoloration and helps the clot form.
- Discomfort – Some discomfort is to be expected. You will be given a prescription for pain medication. Take the medication as directed to minimize discomfort when the anesthesia wears off.
- Rinsing – 24 hours after bleeding has stopped you may gently rinse with warm salt water. The salt water should be made with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 oz glass of lukewarm water. Rinsing is important because it removes food particles and and debris from the socket area and thus helps prevent infection and promotes healing.
- Sutures – Do NOT pull at your lip or at the sutures. Absorbable sutures will dissolve. If a non-absorbable suture is placed you will be given an appointment for suture removal and a follow up appointment 1 week after your surgery.
- Eating – It is important that you maintain your food intake. You will probably not be able to chew near the incision. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of liquids. As the soreness dissipates you can slowly introduce more chewable foods.
- Post operative visit – Remember it is important to your dental health to go to your post-surgical appointment so your doctor can make certain the healing is progressing satisfactorily. Until your next appointment, maintain a healthy diet.
When to speak to a medical professional
Expect pain and swelling for several days, but it will improve over time. You will need to call if you experience the following:
- Excessive bleeding
- Severe pain
- Difficulty in opening your mouth
Whether you have a wisdom tooth removed or all four of them, it is essential that you follow the instructions given to you to speed up recovery time and prevent further complications. Don’t trust your smile and oral health to just anyone.
Meet Dr. Michael Ayzin.