There’s plenty of unpleasant experiences that may result after having your wisdom teeth removed. The most common include swelling of your cheeks, soreness, unpleasant taste, numbness in certain facial areas, and of course pain. We’ve put together a list of tips anyone can follow, whether you had one or all four wisdom teeth pulled.
If for any reason you were not prescribed painkillers by your health care provider after the surgery, the best option is either ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Be careful in rinsing out with, spitting and drinking hot liquids. Any of these can dislodge blood clots which aid in the healing process, and bleeding will also result as well which can cause an unpleasant taste. If gauze is available, place it over the bleeding area and bite down for about half an hour to stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues to be an issue and gauze is not readily available, use a slightly wet tea bag instead. It contains tannic acid, which facilitates clotting by contracting the bleeding vessels. For the first few days after surgery it’s also advised to avoid strenuous activity, including exercise.
Swollen (chipmunk) cheeks are commonly seen 24 hours after surgery. The best way to combat this is either with a cold cloth or ice packs on the side of your face where the surgery was performed immediately following tooth removal. Using it after 36 hours won’t make much of a difference unfortunately. Using them the entire time you’re awake after surgery can help the swelling to a degree. The swelling itself will peak 48 to 72 hours after surgery before it begins to naturally improve.
Food & Drink
The pain, swelling, and general discomfort will make drinking and eating difficult the first few days following surgery. You will need to have more fluids than usual for a proper recovery, and that means at least six glasses of fluid a day. As for foods, consume soft items that are high in both calorie content as well as protein.
Keep a Clean Mouth
Brushing will have to be carried out carefully as well as rinsing. Use an antiseptic rinse if available or prescribed. Warm water with a teaspoon of salt offers an effective means for removing bacteria from around the extraction site.
Do not smoke within the first 24 hours following surgery. For some this might be a no brainer, but it may be difficult for those that have a habit of smoking. The act of sucking on a cigarette can remove a clot, while smoking itself reduces blood flow to the oral cavity which increases your chances of an infection. It is best to avoid smoking until you’re fully recovered. Avoid drinking through straws as well, as it requires the same suction action as cigarettes.
Due to blood getting underneath tissue, your skin may change colors a few days after surgery. It could be anything from a dark blue or black to green. To speed up your skin’s return to its normal color, use a warm moist cloth on the surface of the altered skin.
Dr. Louis Bosse is the head of Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. Dr. Bosse has counseled hundreds of his patients in recovering from wisdom teeth removal.
Photo Credit: Todd Morris
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