If your dentist says the words “wisdom tooth extraction,” your first instinct is to probably go into panic mode. But fear not, it won’t be as bad as you think. In fact, you’ll probably feel better after they’re out since they’re most likely crowding your other teeth and affecting your oral health. The most important part of the tooth extraction for you is that you follow all aftercare instructions to ensure your incision sites heal properly.

The Importance of Aftercare

Wisdom teeth surgery is an outpatient procedure that is performed on 5 million Americans annually. Fortunately, this means your oral surgeon is going to be experienced enough that you will most likely recover quickly with only minor discomfort. Nonetheless, you should not take aftercare instructions lightly. Infections and dry sockets are a possibility, and you should do your best to prevent them from happening.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Healing Tips

Aftercare for a wisdom tooth removal is not overly complicated. You will experience some minor temporary discomfort, so we’ll discuss some post-extraction healing instructions on how to handle these issues.

Swelling: To reduce swelling and bruising, you can apply ice packs to the outside of your mouth intermittently. But depending on your situation before the extraction, your dentist may recommend using a warm compress rather than something cold.

Bleeding: After your surgery, you should expect some bleeding. Your dentist will tell you how long to keep a gauze pad over the extraction site for, depending on how heavy the bleeding is. After the initial bleeding stops, you shouldn’t experience any more bleeding.

Food and Drink: You should try to limit your eating and drinking for the first few hours following surgery. But it is important to drink a good amount of fluids to keep hydrated after the bleeding has stopped. When you’re feeling ready to eat, you should try to stick to soft foods like pudding, jello, and mashed potatoes. This will reduce the risk of aggravating the extraction site or leaving food particles in the sockets.

Mouth Care: To avoid dislodging the blood clots at the extraction sites, you should not rinse vigorously or use a straw. Additionally, you should avoid drinking alcohol or smoking after tooth extraction. You should brush your teeth the night of the surgery, but be very gentle and avoid the surgical area.

Along with this basic wisdom tooth extraction aftercare, it’s important to take prescribed medication like pain medicine or antibiotics as directed by your oral surgeon.

After your wisdom tooth extraction, your pain and discomfort should lessen every day. If you’re experiencing more pain, swelling, bleeding, or develop a fever, it’s important to contact your dentist right away.

Surgery can be scary, but just know that by following any directions your experienced oral surgeon gives you, you should recover quickly and remain just as wise as you were with your wisdom teeth intact.