All surgeries involve some post-surgical discomfort, and wisdom teeth extractions are no different. You can read our full set of written post-operative instructions here, but it’s hard to explain what it feels like until you actually go through the process.
The important thing to remember is that your body will heal slowly and incrementally in the days after surgery. Do not try to rush back into your normal routine. Take it slow as you move back to solid foods and your normal oral hygiene routine. Plan to stay home from work or school for at least two to three days, and read our recommendations below, so you know what to expect.
Do you need Southlake wisdom tooth removal for yourself or your child? Colleyville oral surgeon Dr. Chris Tye serves the greater Fort Worth and Southlake area. Call us at 817-552-3223 to learn about Dr. Tye’s unique qualifications as an oral surgeon and dentist.
The Day of Surgery
Many patients don’t realize how critical the first day of after-care is for proper healing. One of the reasons why recommend patients go home and rest on a sofa or recliner after their surgery is because being asleep is a great way to leave your mouth alone!
When the mouth is too active or the surgical site is disturbed, it can prevent the blood from clotting properly, which is critical to healing. Trying to use your mouth as-usual in the hours after your surgery can lead to excess bleeding and dry sockets. It’s really best to just pretend you don’t have a mouth for the first few hours, and leave it alone.
What to do:
- Bite down on the supplied gauze packs for the first hour.
- If bleeding persists after the first hour, replace the gauze at 30-45 minute intervals.
- Keep the mouth slack and relaxed as much as possible (use a washcloth to catch saliva).
- Apply ice packs to the face to reduce swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off).
- Recline with the head and neck slightly elevated.
- Rest, sleep, and then rest and sleep some more!
- Swallow liquid or very soft foods when you get hungry.
What not to do:
- Do not suck through a straw, spit, vape, or smoke.
- Avoid speaking or using the tongue and jaw muscles, (as much as possible).
- Do not rinse the mouth or poke at the surgical sites.
- Do not eat very hot or very cold foods.
- Do not eat foods that requires chewing.
In the Days After Surgery
Unfortunately, healing will not take place overnight. Getting back to normal will be an incremental process that occurs over a period of many days.
What to do:
- Continue to rest as much as possible.
- Continue to eat soft foods that are easy to swallow without chewing.
- Rinse the mouth gently at your usual oral hygiene times to remove bacteria and food residue.
- Brush the teeth, but do it very gently.
- Apply warm compresses to the face to manage swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off).
- Take pain medications as needed, and as directed.
What not to do:
- Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting for about six days. If you use a rinse, be gentle and let it fall from the mouth rather than spit it out.
- Don’t skip meals. Your body needs nourishing foods to activate the healing process.
- Don’t try to rush back to your normal routine. Let your pain levels dictate your activities for a few days.
Remember, the first two days after surgery are usually the worst. On the first day, the sedatives and painkillers used during surgery are still in your bloodstream, so you won’t feel as much pain as you will on day two.
When to Call Our Office
If you experience excessive bleeding after the first day, let us know. Some slight oozing and bleeding is normal in the days after surgery, but fresh blood flow or pus is not normal. If, at any point, your experience deviates from what we have told you to expect, trust your gut and give us a call to see if it’s within the normal range of symptoms.
Less Common Complications: Dry Sockets and Sequestra
If the blood does not clot properly at the site of a wisdom tooth extraction, you may wind up with exposed bone that causes severe pain. Dry sockets usually become evident about two days after surgery, and the pain may worsen and radiate to the ear. If you experience severe pain that gets worse rather than better, call us so we can provide treatment for this condition.
Some patients will experience bone fragments or slivers (sequestra) that make their way out of the extractions sites in the days and weeks after surgery. This may happen several days after you feel like you’ve gotten back to normal, so don’t be surprised if you experience sudden pain at one site or another. If you feel soreness, inflammation, or sharp fragments that irritate the gums or tongue, call our office and we can remove the sequestra for you.
Do you need Southlake wisdom tooth removal? Colleyville oral surgeon Dr. Chris Tye serves the greater Fort Worth and Southlake area. Call us at 817-552-3223 to make an appointment for a wisdom teeth extraction consultation.