Tag Archives: oral surgery

Tips For a Smooth Recovery From Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Over 5 million Americans have their wisdom teeth extracted annually. In this post we will focus on recovery tips, good food choices for after surgery as well as when to check back in with the dentist or doctor. (Be sure to check out our recent post on what to expect from surgery and potential complications that may arise).

Make For A Comfortable Recovery 

Everyone heals differently from surgery, some people who are prone to bleeding or swelling may have a more difficult recovery, as may someone with other chronic health problems such as immunocompromising or autoimmune issues. Here are some tips that may help ease recovery:

  • Keep your gauze in place until you get home, take all medications (such as antibiotics or NSAIDs) as your dentist prescribed.
  • Don’t engage in exercise the first couple days after surgery, after you get enough rest, you can start easing back into activity.
  • It is important to keep the mouth very clean in the weeks following surgery, but don’t do saltwater rinsing until the day after surgery, then you can proceed to do so several times daily (very gently, aggressive washing can dislodge a blood blot).
  • Letting ice chips dissolve in your mouth may help ease soreness or swelling of the mouth or throat.
  • Try not to let your curiosity get the best of you and start rooting at the extraction sites with your tongue as you may cause a dry socket, infection or disrupt the stitches, all of which can all delay and complicate healing.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking from straws or aggressive mouth swishing for the first few days after surgery, as all of these can contribute to dry socket.
  • Use ice packs in the days following surgery to keep swelling down (be careful not to leave the packs on too long).
  • Bleeding can be slowed by a gentle rinse followed by packing gauze in the area and holding it in place for half an hour or so.
  • A tea bag will also work well to calm bleeding, as the tannic acid can help a clot to form. Remember that most of the red you are seeing is your saliva, not pure blood, so don’t panic!
  • Bruising and swelling are normal for up to a week following surgery, however, if you are experiencing severe facial swelling over a week after having surgery, return to your dentist for a check-up.
  • As with any invasive surgical procedure, some degree of pain is to be expected in the days or weeks following wisdom teeth extraction, but be sure to take your anti-inflammatories or painkillers as prescribed, and follow up with your dentist if pain persists or becomes intense.

Post-Extraction Diet

Because you will be limited to a soft and liquid food diet in the days or weeks following your surgery, it is important to ensure you are taking in enough calories and protein in the absence of your usual food staples. Be sure to drink water often to prevent dehydration (at least 6 glasses of liquid daily), but avoid carbonated drinks as they may negatively affect clotting. Avoid temptation to indulge in solid, flakey, crispy or small foods (like rice) in the days following your surgery as pieces of food can become lodged in the healing sites which can cause infection and may require more dental work.

15 Good Post-Extraction Foods To Stock Up On

  1. Pudding
  2. Cream or broth based soups (without rice or food chunks)
  3. Jello
  4. Applesauce
  5. Fruit smoothies (be sure to add some protein)
  6. Yogurt or drinkable yogurt
  7. Warm tea
  8. Cottage cheese
  9. Mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes for a nutritious swap)!
  10. Babyfood
  11. Soft cheesecake
  12. Nut butters
  13. Oatmeal
  14. Cooked ground meat with gravy
  15. Potato, beet or tuna salad

When to Revisit the Dentist?

If you are experiencing infection symptoms such as pain, swelling, fever or discharge, be sure to visit your dentist or a doctor ASAP. Also, if you suspect you may have dry socket, visit your dentist as soon as you can so he or she can place a special protective antibiotic packing to the socket to help it heal in the absence of the clot. A good general rule is to go back for a recheck if you are still having any unnerving symptoms such as excessive pain that isn’t helped by NSAIDs, or any other troubling symptoms that don’t seem in line with usual recovery. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

There you have all the tips, tricks and cautions for a comfortable recovery from wisdom teeth extraction surgery! We hope this helps. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Our board certified physicians are on stand-by 24/7/365 should you have any medical questions that need answering.


Wisdom Teeth Extraction – What To Expect

Has your dentist recommended you have your wisdom teeth removed? You’re not alone, approximately 5 million Americans undergo the surgical removal of one or more wisdom teeth annually. These teeth commonly begin to grow or become problematic between the late teens and early twenties. So what can you expect from the procedure? What post-procedure complications may arise? What kind of post-care is necessary to help ensure a smooth recovery? Let’s take a look!

Why Do We Need To Lose These Teeth?

Common reasons for wisdom teeth removal are:

  • An impacted tooth (one that is partially trapped in the gums or blocked by another tooth and can’t fully erupt through). This can lead to infections as food can get trapped in the gums around partially showing wisdom tooth.
  • Wisdom teeth that are growing crooked or growing into another tooth need to be removed
  • Or teeth that are crowding the mouth and misaligning their ivory neighbors.

A dentist may also recommend wisdom tooth extraction as a preventative measure for a person suffering autoimmune issues, or those with gum conditions such as periodontitis who may have higher risk of experiencing infections or complications down the line if wisdom teeth remain.

How Will the Procedure Go Down?

Your dentist or oral surgeon will administer one of the following methods of sedation:

  1. Nitrous oxide (also known as ‘laughing gas’) via face-mask plus local anesthetic.
  2. Conscious sedation is a method whereby an IV containing various calmative medications which will partially sedate you but you will remain consciously oblivious throughout the procedure.
  3. General anesthetic – this method is not as commonly used for wisdom teeth extraction as it comes with more potential risks and side effects than the other two, but in some cases the person will be ‘put under’ using general anesthetic for their surgery.

Your surgeon will then proceed to open up the gums surrounded the target teeth, exposing the tooth and bone beneath. He or she will then divide the teeth into sections and remove them, finishing the procedure by cleaning out the site and stitching the area closed to heal.

What Post-Surgical Complications Can Arise?

Potential post-surgical risks of wisdom tooth extraction include:

  1. An infection may occur in the extraction site, marked by a white or yellow discharge, temperature and pain and swelling.
  2. Dry socket – happens when the blood clot that is forming to help protect and heal the site becomes dislodged, leaving the bone exposed. This condition can be very painful, sometimes causing throbbing up the jaw or even around the ear, it can also cause a bad taste or smell to emanate from the mouth.
  3. Nerve problems – a rare complication of wisdom tooth extraction is temporary or permanent nerve damage that may cause such symptoms as facial pain, tingling or numbness.
  4. Pieces of tooth left behind – in rare instances, a small piece of tooth may have been left in the extraction site. Sometimes these small parts work themselves out without problems, but sometimes a dentist may need to reopen the stitches and remove a leftover piece of tooth.
  5. Healing problems for those with health issues – people with chronic health or immunocompromising conditions may heal much slower with more pain, swelling or bleeding than others.

What is Recovery Like?

Everyone is different, so wisdom tooth extraction recovery is not one-size-fits-all, but most people will experience some degree of pain, swelling, bruising and minor bleeding in the days following the surgery. To learn more about what to watch out for, when to see the doctor, tips to help recovery and good foods to eat following your surgery, stay posted for our next blog “Tips to Help Ease Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery’. Thanks for visiting DocChat!