While you might not be looking forward to having your wisdom teeth removed, at least you know you’re not alone. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that between 60 and 85 percent of adults and older teenagers have had at least one wisdom tooth extracted. At Northwest Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, it’s our goal to keep you as comfortable as possible during the procedure and to ensure that you understand what to expect before your oral surgery appointment. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at any time if you need additional clarification about wisdom teeth removal.
As you prepare for the surgery, it’s helpful to think in terms of what you need to do before and after it to ensure that your surgery and recovery go as smoothly as possible. For example, be sure to have a friend or family member accompany you to surgery and to drive you home. After IV anesthesia, you will be unable to drive. You will also need someone to care for you at home on the day of surgery. Below are 7 tips to remember after you leave our office.
Caring for Yourself After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Whether you have one wisdom tooth removed or all four, heeding these tips will help you get through the recovery period as quickly as possible:
1. Change gauze at the surgical site every hour until the bleeding stops. Gauze should be slightly dampened in cold water prior to use.
2. You may begin brushing your teeth the day after surgery.
3. Ease pain and swelling with an ice pack. If swelling persists past three days, switch to a heat pack to help with residual pain and jaw stiffness.
4. Elevate your head when sleeping by using at least two pillows. This will reduce both pain and swelling.
5. Do not use straws when you drink liquids because the suction power creates a vacuum in your mouth that can cause blood clots to break open.
6. Be proactive about pain management by taking pain relievers as directed. As soon as you get home, take 400 mg of ibuprofen. Continue taking 400 mg of ibuprofen every six hours for three days. Acetaminophen may be taken on top of and in addition to ibuprofen. Use prescription pain medication only if needed and as prescribed by your surgeon.
7. Refrain from using alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and recreational drugs after oral surgery as these activities may cause serious side effects, adverse reactions and impede recovery.
Following these tips is the best way to ensure a successful oral surgery for the removal of your wisdom teeth. We will provide you with complete discharge instructions at Northwest Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, including what to do if it seems like your healing is not progressing as it should. To schedule a wisdom teeth consultation for yourself or your child, please contact us at your nearest location.