According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, “It has been estimated that 10 million wisdom teeth are removed from 5 million individuals in the United States each year, at a cost of more than $3 billion.” With such a prevalence, it is very likely that someone you know and love has had the procedure. As with any procedure, there are certain practices and things to watch out for during the recovery period from wisdom tooth extraction. If you or a loved one are having these procedure done, here are some things to expect after a wisdom tooth/teeth extraction:

Physical Effects:

Wisdom tooth extraction is not a lengthy procedure, and in most cases, is performed right in your dentist’s office. Immediately after the surgery, because of the sedation used during the procedure, you should expect to wake up and slowly begin to regain feeling in your mouth that was once numb. There will be some immediate swelling and pain in the affected area, and there may also be some bleeding in your mouth. However, barring any extremely negative reactions, you will be sent home to recover. The usual recovery time from wisdom tooth extraction is a few days to a week or so, and within that time, you should expect the same small amounts of swelling, bleeding, and pain that should improve over time. Lastly, you should expect to refrain from heavy activity that could possibly dislodge your stitches.

How To Ease Pain:

As with any dental procedure, a small amount of pain may be present throughout your recovery period. However, this pain should slowly diminish as the days go on. If your pain is extreme and does not get better over time, please consult with your doctor and/or dentist immediately.

Using ice packs on the affected area can help reduce swelling and localized pain. However, do not apply the ice pack directly to the skin, but rather, apply to a cloth covering the affected area. Also, the pain should be minimal enough in which to be managed by over-the-counter pain medication. 

What to/Not to Eat:

Because this surgery affects your mouth, it of course affects what you can and cannot eat during your recovery. In this time, you are advised to stick to soft foods and drinks and to avoid harder foods. These foods can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Apple sauce
  • Soup
  • Pudding
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Smoothies

You should avoid any hard foods that require chewing, including nuts and seeds that can be lodged in the surgical area. You should also avoid extremely hot foods or soups. Lastly, avoid using straws to drink your beverages, as these can inadvertently dislodge the scabs and stitches in the affected area and increase your risk of infection. 

Reactions to Notice:

After having this surgery, if you have any of the following reactions, contact your doctor and/or dentist as soon as possible. These reactions are rare but can be signs of infection and/or additional complications from the surgery.

Though you should expect a small amount of bleeding from the surgical site, you should not experience any pus or other leakage from the area. This can signify an infection in the area and must be addressed immediately. Similarly, if you experience a fever, this may also be a sign of a serious infection. 

Your recovery time should be relatively short, as should the time in which you experience bleeding, numbness, pain. If you are experiencing any of these reactions in weeks following your procedure, this would be something you would bring up to your doctor and/or dentist. Also, if the swelling of the area does not decrease relatively quickly, advise your doctor/dentist of such. Lastly, and most rarely, if you are experiencing difficulty breathing or swallowing, contact your doctor immediately and report to your local emergency room.

If you are considering having your wisdom teeth extracted or wish to schedule an appointment with a dentist, contact Guillot Family Dental.