The thought of wisdom tooth extraction makes many people nervous, usually because they’re afraid it will hurt. However, with excellent dental care and a few practical tips, it’s possible to minimize or completely avoid pain during the procedure and afterward. In fact, most patients experience little to no pain after wisdom tooth removal. We’ve put together this helpful guide so you can enjoy the benefits of a wonderful smile while keeping any discomfort to a minimum.
Things to Expect During and After Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The entire purpose of wisdom tooth removal is often to alleviate the pain you’re feeling. When wisdom teeth aren’t growing properly, or your mouth doesn’t have enough room for them, it can cause inflammation, jaw pain, sinus headaches, and other issues. If this happens to you, extraction is often the best way to experience relief.
Before your oral surgery, our experienced team can sit down with you to calm any fears. Feel free to ask any questions about things that make you feel nervous. Wisdom tooth extraction usually only takes 30–45 minutes. As experts in sedation dentistry, we can numb the area or apply deeper anesthesia, so you sleep through the procedure, whichever option you prefer. With local or sedation anesthesia, you can stay completely pain-free during the entire surgery.
Recovering completely from wisdom tooth removal usually takes about two weeks, depending on the amount of surgery required. After two to three days, swelling and discomfort should dissipate. Any stiffness or soreness in the jaw normally disappears in under ten days.
Ways to Promote Healing Post Extraction
There are two main keys to reducing or eliminating pain following teeth extraction: preventing oral infections and promoting good healing. The body has natural systems in place to take care of both of these things, and great dentists can help speed things up. Here are three areas to focus on:
1. Protect the Blood Clot That Forms
It’s normal for a blood clot to form in the space where your wisdom tooth was. This is healthy and beneficial. It works to heal the wound, and it keeps harmful bacteria away. In addition, clots play a large role in preventing pain. If the blood clot gets dislodged somehow — a condition called dry socket — you may experience significant pain and swelling.
This is why your dentist will tell you to take things easy. Avoid drinking with straws or spitting for the first few days, which can put too much pressure on blood clots and stitches. After 24 hours, you may start to rinse the area with warm saltwater. Be careful, and be gentle. While brushing the rest of your mouth is a good idea after the first day, make sure to steer clear of the wound.
2. Follow Your Dentist’s Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare Instructions
Dentists often prescribe antibiotics after tooth extraction to protect against possible infections while your mouth is vulnerable. Make sure to follow all the aftercare recommendations to the letter, including taking the full course of any antibiotics. This can help you avoid painful complications. You may also need to change the gauze over the wound sites.
3. Don’t Smoke
Tobacco products reduce your body’s natural healing mechanisms. This can slow down your recovery after oral surgery. Avoid smoking for at least 72 hours. If possible, wait a week or longer before reaching for a cigarette or chewing tobacco.
It can take several weeks or a few months for surgical incisions to heal completely. As long as you follow these healing recommendations, however, you can likely resume your regular activities in a day or two. After the first week, your life should be getting back to normal, and you can even start eating many of your favorite foods again.
Foods You Can Eat After Wisdom Tooth Removal
One of the most common questions patients have is about the foods they should eat and avoid after wisdom tooth surgery. Generally speaking, you want to stick to soft foods and cool water during the first 24 hours. Things you can eat without chewing are helpful. Here is a list of acceptable foods:
- Warm (not hot) broths and blended soups
- Smoothies (with a spoon)
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
You can gradually add in other things as your mouth starts to heal. After a few days, you may be able to eat soft pasta, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and other semi-soft foods. Later, you can begin eating fruit, cooked vegetables, and chicken.
Avoid any hard, spicy, acidic, or sticky foods for at least a week. They can irritate your gums, produce pain, cause additional bleeding, or dislodge the blood clot. Steer clear of things such as nuts, seeds, peanut butter (both types), popcorn, chips, and bacon. Rice is also a no-no, even though it’s relatively soft because the small grains can get stuck in the wound site. Don’t drink hot beverages, such as coffee or alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours after surgery.
Tips for Avoiding Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
There’s no need to have pain after wisdom tooth removal. In addition to avoiding problem foods, there are several things you can do to stay comfortable:
- Drink lots of water.
- Rest during the first 24 hours.
- Use a covered ice pack near the injury to reduce swelling.
- Place a warm face cloth on your jaw for relief from stiffness and soreness.
- Exercise your jaw carefully by gently opening and closing the mouth.
- Take over-the-counter or prescription pain medication.
- Sleep with your head propped up.
Of course, every patient is unique. Always make sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations closely. In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen are sufficient. Other times, our team may provide a prescription for pain medication.
Issues to Look for After The Extraction Surgery
It’s perfectly safe to recover from wisdom tooth extraction at home. To heal as quickly as possible, make sure to keep an eye on your oral health. It’s normal to see some bleeding during the first 24 hours or so after surgery, but you should call us right away if you notice problems. Signs of Potential complications include excessive bleeding, fever, severe pain, swelling that persists for more than 72 hours, and other infection symptoms. We’re always happy to help, so don’t hesitate to call if something makes you feel worried.
Benefits of Follow-Up Dental Care From Tribeca Dental Care
It’s common for your dentist to schedule a follow-up appointment about a week after your wisdom tooth extraction. This visit is essential for providing proper oral care. It gives your dentist a chance to make sure that everything is healing properly. If something is causing irritation, infection, or pain, we can take care of the issue immediately.
At Tribeca Dental, you will find dental professionals with a caring attitude and an expert touch. We take the time to allay any fears about getting any dental work.
When you select dental health professionals who truly care, you’re always in great hands. In fact, we even help to minimize any stress by providing patient financing and working with all the major insurance carriers. To schedule an appointment or learn more, contact us right away.