A small percentage of people are born lucky, able to go through life without any complications from the growth of their wisdom teeth. Others, however, have to deal with the pain of wisdom teeth growing in the wrong direction. When this occurs, the pressure often negatively impacts the rest of your teeth, making wisdom teeth infamous for being a source of pain and discomfort for adults of all ages. In that regard, many exchange horror stories of their experience of days to weeks spent nursing a sharp ache in their mouth. The worst part of it all is that it can be just as sore before and after a wisdom tooth extraction. To that end, its removal is a necessary evil you cannot skimp out on. Fortunately, there are a few tried and tested tips that will help your recovery be as speedy and manageable as possible:
Tip #1: Keep the gauze in place
Your dentist will apply gauze over the extraction site immediately after wisdom tooth extraction surgery. The affected area will bleed naturally for some time, so don’t be alarmed by the mess it makes and be sure to maintain pressure over the gauze to reduce the bleeding as much as possible. It may take up to 45 minutes for the bleeding to settle down, and you should keep the gauze in place within that time frame until the bleeding subsides. If your gauze is soaked but you're still bleeding, simply press on a fresh, clean gauze the same way your dentist placed it and maintain the same pressure for as long as it is needed.
Tip #2: Stick to soft or easy-to-eat foods
Your molars are responsible for grinding and chewing your food, but after having your wisdom teeth removed, the rest will be inflamed and can cause pain when it’s immediately put to work. Not only will it hurt, but forcing your molars to chew on hard foods may agitate the affected area and encourage bleeding, which can slow down recovery. It's best to avoid using a straw when drinking as the pressure from sucking can also dislodge the blood clot. In that regard, take a few days to let your teeth settle down and reserve a liquid or soft food diet, like yogurt, smoothies, soups, rice porridge, or anything that won’t require you to chew using your molars. Avoid beverages that are too hot as it can also irritate the extracted site, but soft, cold snacks like ice cream will help ease the pain and avoid irritating the blood clot. To that end, take your time to gradually reintroduce solid meals as you recover.
Tip #3: Exercise your jaw regularly and gently
Your jaw will be stiff after the surgery, and it can be painful to make sudden, big movements as it can trigger the extraction site and cause further bleeding. However, it’s important to move your jaw around mildly as you will need to exercise the masseter muscle, which is found just before the opening of your ear. This will help reduce the stiffness and slowly help your jaw gain back its mobility. In cases where you find your jaw swollen, don’t panic! It’s normal to experience extreme stiffness following a wisdom teeth removal, and you can easily soothe the affected area using an ice pack for about ten minutes.
Tip #4: Take the time off to rest
Many people think that after the procedure, they can go back to doing business as usual and pick up on where they left off. However, it’s crucial to take time off to let your body heal as anything that may cause unnecessary stress to your extraction site can delay your recovery and trigger complications. In that regard, keep your head upright for the first few days even when you are sleeping.
Tip #5: Mouth Care
After about 12 hours from the procedure, you can wash your mouth gently by rinsing it with a diluted mouthwash or a salt water rinse. Rinsing with warm salt water several times a day, especially after eating or drinking, will help reduce swelling and pain. Do avoid smoking, and make sure to carefully and gently brush your teeth while avoiding the extracted area as best as you can.
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