If you're having your wisdom teeth taken out, at a clinic like Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Associates, the procedure itself is rather intensive. Caring for your mouth afterwards is just as important as the tooth removal itself, so it's essential that you practice good post op care in order to ensure a smooth recovery. Here are some things to be aware of and what you should do following a wisdom teeth removal procedure.
Directly After Surgery
Your dentist will put gauze in the areas where the wisdom teeth have been removed to help keep you from bleeding too much. Keep this gauze in place for at least a half hour until blood clots can form. Then, remove the gauze and discard it. Do not rinse your mouth out with anything containing alcohol and never brush your teeth directly on the wound. You want the blood clot to stay in place so the area can heal. Place an ice pack on your face if you feel swelling, as this can help keep it to a minimum.
Dealing with Pain
You will most likely experience some pain after a wisdom tooth extraction. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication, so be sure to take it per the directions to help minimize your pain. Try to rest for at least a day or two after the surgery and take it easy. If you're still in pain after a few days, you may need to call the dentist and have them take a look, as it could be an indication of a possible infection. Pain should subside within 48 hours, so if you are feeling uncomfortable after this amount of time, you should give the dentist a call immediately.
What to Avoid
Dry sockets can form in the mouth if you do certain things like drink through a straw or smoke cigarettes. These two things should be avoided at all costs after having your wisdom teeth removed until it's completely healed. Make sure you follow the dentist's instructions completely. If you get dry sockets, you will have to come back in and have more surgery to fix them. They are also extremely painful, so hold off on smoking until you're in the clear.
You should try not to eat or chew around the area where your wisdom teeth are pulled for at least a couple of days. If you can, eat soup or cold foods, like ice cream, for at least one day after surgery. While it is important that you eat something, just be cautious of chewing near this area to avoid disrupting the blood clot. Practice caution and within a few days you should be able to return to your normal eating habits. With some simple care, the healing process after a wisdom tooth extraction should go smoothly.