A wisdom tooth extraction can be a daunting experience, but with proper care, you can expect a smooth and comfortable recovery. If you’re scheduled for wisdom tooth removal, you may be wondering what to expect during the healing process.
In this blog post, we’ll give you a rundown of what to expect in the days and weeks following your surgery. We’ll also give you some tips on how you can speed up recover time. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is A Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars most people get in their late teens or early twenties.
Wisdom teeth can be a real pain—literally! They’re called wisdom teeth because they come in so late as they are typically believed to erupt when you are old enough to be wise. And by then, your jaw may not have adequate space for them. Unlike baby teeth, wisdom teeth don’t fall out on their own. They need to be surgically removed by a dentist.
The good news is that wisdom tooth removal is a very common procedure, and it’s usually a pretty straightforward one as well. So if you’re facing wisdom tooth removal, there’s no need to worry – you’re in good hands. On the other hand, it’s still best to be aware of what to expect after the process so you can prepare yourself for the recovery period.
What Is Involved in Removing Wisdom Teeth?
Let’s first discuss what happens during the removal process. The process of removing impacted wisdom teeth is called a wisdom tooth extraction. A dentist usually performs this procedure in a clinic or an outpatient centre.
During a wisdom tooth extraction:
- The first step in removing impacted wisdom teeth is to take x-rays to determine the position of the tooth and assess the severity of impaction.
- The dentist will make an incision in your gums to access your impacted wisdom teeth.
- They will remove any bone blocking the path of your impacted wisdom teeth.
- Once your impacted wisdom teeth are exposed, the dentist will use special instruments to remove them.
- The dentist will close the incisions in your gums with stitches.
- You will be given after-care instructions on how to care for the surgical site.
What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
While wisdom teeth removal is a fairly routine dental procedure, there are some potential reactions or side effects that patients should be aware of. The following may occur following the extraction:
Bruising and Bleeding
Bruising and bleeding may occur, which can be managed by a cold compress. This involves applying ice wrapped in a towel to the outside of your mouth (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off). It is important to avoid drinking through a straw, as the sucking pressure can cause additional bleeding. Also, you may need to eat softer foods for a few days after wisdom teeth surgery while your mouth heals.
Numbness or Tingling Sensation
Another common side effect is numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or chin. This usually goes away within a few hours but can last up to a week.
Pain and Swelling
The most common side effect is pain and swelling in the area where the teeth were removed. This is typically controlled with over-the-counter pain relief medication, but your dentist may prescribe something stronger if the pain from wisdom teeth extraction is severe.
If you experience severe pain or profuse bleeding or your side effects last longer than a week, contact your dentist immediately.
How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Swelling is common after wisdom tooth removal. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce them and may speed up the healing process.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce swelling after wisdom tooth removal:
- Apply an ice pack to the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes at a time. You can do this several times a day for the first few days. Just wrap the ice pack in a thin towel, so it doesn’t come into direct contact with your skin.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed.
- Use a salt water rinse several times a day. This will help to reduce swelling and pain.
- Prop your head up with pillows when you sleep so that gravity can help reduce the swelling.
Follow these tips, and you should start to see the swelling go down within a few days. Of course, if you have any concerns, contact your dentist.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Anyone who has undergone wisdom teeth removal can attest that recovery from wisdom tooth surgery can take a few days. Depending on the individual, recovery time from wisdom teeth removal can vary from a few days to a week or more.
In most cases, the immediate recovery period is the most uncomfortable, as this is when the anaesthetic wears off and the swelling and soreness are at their worst.
Most often, the swelling and discomfort will peak 24-48 hours after the surgery and then gradually start to subside. However, it is not uncommon for people to experience some soreness and tenderness for up to a week or even longer.
Recovery time will vary depending on how complex the procedure was. In general, simple extractions tend to heal faster than more complicated ones.
Other Tips to Speed Up Healing Time
One of the most common questions we get asked by patients is how they can speed up the healing process after wisdom tooth removal. While the surgery itself is relatively quick and straightforward, the recovery period can take a few days to a week or more.
Here are a few tips to help you heal more quickly after your procedure:
- Avoid hard or crunchy food that can irritate the area. Stick to soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal.
- Take it easy for the first 24-48 hours post-surgery. This means no strenuous activity, using a straw, or smoking.
- Get plenty of rest. Your body needs time to recover from surgery, so make sure to get plenty of sleep in the days following your procedure.
- Take pain medication as needed. If you’re feeling pain or discomfort, take over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your doctor.
- Keep your mouth clean. Gently brush your teeth twice daily to keep your mouth clean and free of bacteria.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day or with an antibacterial mouthwash after eating to help keep the area clean and promote healing.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or using straws for at least 72 hours following surgery, as they can cause bleeding.
- During your recovery period, it’s best to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions to avoid severe complications.
What Is a Dry Socket?
A dry socket is a common complication after having a tooth pulled. It occurs when the blood clot that forms in the tooth socket after the extraction is lost or dissolves. This exposes the bone and nerves beneath, which can be quite painful.
Dry sockets are more common with certain types of extractions, such as wisdom teeth. They’re also more likely to occur if you smoke or have an infection at the extraction site.
Dry sockets usually heal on their own within a couple of weeks, but they can be quite painful in the meantime. If you think you may have a dry socket, contact your dentist. They can prescribe medication to help ease the pain and speed up healing.
The healing period after a wisdom tooth removal is usually pretty straightforward; however, there may be some complications that may arise. If you’re experiencing pain from your wisdom teeth, don’t suffer in silence. There are many ways to ease the discomfort, and one of them is through observing proper oral hygiene and if severe long lasting pain is felt, schedule a consultation with your dentist.
Our team at Maylands Dental Centre can help relieve your symptoms and make the process a little bit easier for you. Book a dental consultation today via our website or give us a call at (08) 9370 5464! We look forward to hearing from you soon.