What To Expect After You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted

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Most people have to have their wisdom teeth removed. If you are one of them, you are probably feeling a bit anxious and want to know what to expect. Your dentist or oral surgeon will go over the procedure with you. They will also give you detailed aftercare instructions.   

Some of the things you should be prepared for after your extraction are:

Bleeding – You will probably leave the office with gauze in your mouth. You will be instructed to bite down gently to keep the gauze in place so that it can apply pressure and absorb blood. Your surgeon will tell you how long to keep the original dressing in place. In most cases it is about an hour. If you are still bleeding, you will need to replace the soiled gauze with new. One of the most important parts of healing is that a blood clot forms in the socket where the tooth was removed. This clot needs to stay in place throughout the healing process to avoid a painful condition called "dry socket" in which the socket becomes irritated and infected.

Pain – Wisdom tooth removal is usually accompanied with some discomfort. You will likely have a prescription for pain medication. Try to fill this prescription on your way home so you have your medication available to take before the anesthetic wears off. Some people are able to manage their pain with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol.

Ice – An ice pack held gently against your cheek can help to ease pain and reduce swelling and bruising. Your dentist or oral surgeon will instruct you as to how often and how long to use ice packs.

Don't Lie Flat – Laying flat can prolong bleeding. Sit, or prop your head up with pillows while reclining.

Activities – The day of your extraction is a day to rest. Plan to have someone with you for the remainder of the day so you can take it easy. Most people can resume normal activities the day after their procedure. Your surgeon will probably ask you to refrain from strenuous activities for at least a few days.

Food and Drink – As you might imagine, you will need to be on a diet of soft foods for a few days. Planning ahead and buying enough soft foods to last about a week will make things easier on you. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks for at least the first 24 hours. Don't drink from a straw for at least a week. The sucking motion could cause a blood clot to come loose.

No Smoking – If you are a smoker, be sure to ask your dentist how long you should wait before smoking. The sucking motion can cause damage the same as drinking from a straw.

Rinsing – You may be given instructions to rinse gently with a salt water solution. This can help ease pain and promote healing.

These are a few basic instructions you can expect to follow after having wisdom teeth extracted. It's imperative that you follow the personalized instructions you are given so that you have the best chance of healing quickly and correctly.