Staying Comfortable After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Staying Comfortable After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Most Americans will have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their life. If it’s time to have yours removed, knowing what you’ll need to be comfortable can help you plan for a smooth recovery. Your oral surgeon will send you home with plenty of instructions after your wisdom tooth extraction, but these tips will help you get ready ahead of time.

Wisdom tooth extraction

Discomfort and Bleeding

Discomfort and bleeding are normal part of wisdom tooth extraction, but there are a few things you can do to help. You’ll likely be prescribed pain management medication, anti-inflammatories and an antibiotic. It’s important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed. If you stop early, you risk infection even if you feel like you’re healing well.

Ice is often the most helpful way to dull swelling, bruising and discomfort for the first two days after surgery. Apply an ice pack to your jaw for 10 to 20 minutes, once an hour. Don’t apply ice for longer periods. Over-icing slows healing and can damage the skin.

Immediately after surgery, your surgeon will tell you to bite down on a gauze pad for 30 to 60 minutes to stop the bleeding. Maintain continuous, firm pressure like you would on a cut. You may need to replace the gauze a few times before the bleeding slows.

Some people have trouble stemming the bleeding. If this is the case, switch out the gauze pad for a cold, wet black tea bag. Black tea is an astringent that encourages blood vessels to constrict. If considerable bleeding persists for several hours, contact our office.

It’s normal for the sockets ooze blood for 24 to 48 hours after extraction. You can bite on gauze to help control it. If you experience significant bleeding at any point, contact our office.

Avoiding Dry Socket

After your wisdom tooth extraction, the socket where your tooth used to be will need time to fill in. Your body will form blood clots that protect the exposed bone and nerve tissue in the socket while you heal. In a small percentage of patients, about 5% or fewer, the blood clots can dislodge or dissolve. This called dry socket, a condition that causes considerable pain and risks infection.
Monitoring your habits can help you avoid dry socket:

  • Avoid all sucking motions, including using straws, smoking or vaping and eating hard candies
  • Do not swish when you brush your teeth, tilting your head back and forth instead
  • Do not spit, instead tilting forward to allow liquid to run out of your mouth
  • Avoid tobacco products, including cigarettes and dip, for as long as possible
  • Avoid alcohol, including beverages and alcohol-based mouthwashes
  • Maintain proper oral hygiene

If you suspect you have dry socket, contact us immediately.

Maintaining a Healthy Mouth

It’s important to continue brushing your teeth after your extraction. The rest of your teeth still need proper care, and good oral hygiene staves off infection and dry socket. Your surgeon will likely recommend you skip brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours after extraction. Afterwards, avoid brushing near the extraction site for at least three days.

It’s critical to avoid typical “swish and spit” rinsing methods while your mouth heals. Instead, tilt your head back and forth to wash toothpaste foam from your mouth. Tilt forward over the sink and allow the liquid to run out of your mouth.

Keeping food out of the sockets will also help prevent discomfort and infection. Rinse your mouth out after every meal or snack.

Eating and Drinking

For the first day after surgery, choose cold foods and drinks and avoid fizzy drinks. Heat and fizz can irritate the healing area. Your surgeon may also recommend that you avoid caffeine. Drink plenty of water throughout your recovery period. Hydration is important for wound healing.

You’ll want to avoid crunchy, chewy, spicy and acidic foods for at least a week after surgery. These foods will irritate your surgical sites. You’ll also want to avoid foods like popcorn, sesame seeds, rice and ice cream mix-ins that can easily get stuck in your open sockets.

Instead, stick with soft foods that are easy to eat and gentle on your surgical sites. Your surgeon will likely recommend you stay on a soft foods diet for seven to fourteen days.

Some of our favorite post-extraction foods are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Smoothies
  • Soup
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Mashed potatoes

Wisdom tooth extraction is a minor surgery, and proper care can help recovery go by in a timely manner. If you have questions about your procedure, feel free to contact Desert Valley Oral Surgery today.

10 Responses to "Staying Comfortable After Wisdom Tooth Extraction"
  • April 23, 2018
    Deb Pearl

    Thank you for all the information about wisdom teeth extractions. I finally have to get my teeth out and I don’t know what to expect. That is good to know that it is normal to bleed for 24 to 48 hours after extraction. I will have to make sure that I buy plenty of gauzes to help keep the bleeding down.

  • May 10, 2018
    Joy Butler

    I am so thankful for what you have shared as am really in pain right now. My tooth is aching and I can sense that it is my wisdom tooth. I really need a dentist so badly! And also I never knew that we should not apply ice for longer periods since over-icing slows healing and can damage the skin. No worries, I will remember that, thank you!

  • July 27, 2018
    Rosie Beckett

    My brother is getting oral surgery soon because he needs to have his wisdom teeth removed and you make a great point that one of the most important thing to do is keep your mouth healthy while it heals. I will make sure to tell my brother to avoid crunchy and chewy foods that could lead to discomfort and infection. This way he will be able to heal from the procedure as quickly as possible and get back to his normal routine.

  • August 2, 2018
    Hector Uba

    Thanks for the tips on staying comfortable after a tooth extraction. I agree that one of the best things you can do is keep good oral hygiene from the beginning because that can help control germs around the area. My sister is getting a tooth extracted soon; I will be sure to share these tips with her so her recovery goes better.

  • October 24, 2019
    Michaela Hemsley

    Thanks for pointing out that to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery it can be smart to avoid all sucking motions and make sure to maintain proper dental hygiene. My son is going to need to get his wisdom teeth out soon and I am trying to figure how to make sure that he can heal correctly after the surgery and so that he can be more comfortable during the process. I’ll have to make sure that he steers clear of any straws, keeps his mouth clean, and that we maybe ask the oral surgeon what else we can do to help him heal. Thanks for the tips on what to do after wisdom tooth extraction.

  • November 13, 2019
    Eileen Benson

    Thanks for the tip to rinse out our mouth after eating anything to reduce the risk of infection. My son will need to have his wisdom teeth extracted within the next couple of months to keep his teeth from becoming cramped. I’m glad I read your article and learned some ways to help him recover quickly!

  • February 13, 2020
    Levi Armstrong

    Thank you for the tip toa void sucking motions when it comes to avoiding dry sockets. My daughter is starting to reach that age where her wisdom teeth may come in. I think it might be time to get them removed.

  • June 18, 2020
    Thomas Clarence

    My son will be getting his wisdom teeth out next month, and we want to make sure that he will be fully ready to go when school starts. We appreciate the advice you shared about making sure to wait three days before brushing near the extraction area. These tips you shared will help me make sure my son has a quick recovery.

  • February 8, 2021
    Eli Richardson

    It really helped when you talked about what you’ll need to do after a wisdom tooth extraction. The other day, my girlfriend said she felt some pain in the back of her mouth and felt it getting bloated. I told her she should get a dentist to check it out before it gets worse. I think that if she does need to get it removed, she’ll find this article very helpful. I appreciate your tips about keeping your mouth healthy to avoid any possible infection.

  • May 14, 2021
    Eli Richardson

    It really helped when you talked about wisdom tooth extraction and its process. Recently, my little sister mentioned she’s suffering from swelling gums. My sister’s not very fond of doctors, and she’s been postponing getting her teeth checked, so I’ll be sure to make her get a dentist appointment soon. Thanks for the information on dental surgery aftercare tips.

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