Any kind of tooth extraction can make your life temporarily miserable, but wisdom teeth extractions can prove especially vexing—especially if the these late-blooming molars are impacted, crowding neighboring teeth, or only half-erupted from the jaw. Even so, you can make your recovery period from a wisdom tooth extraction quicker and easier simply by taking some sensible care. Here are four things you can do that will help you heal up from your wisdom teeth extraction with flying colors.
1. Leave the Socket Alone for 24 Hours
That empty hole where your wisdom tooth used to be is called a socket. In the first 24 hours following your extraction, this socket will plug itself up with a clot. This clot plays a critical role in the healing process, so you need to leave the socket completely alone while he clot forms. Don't brush your teeth or even rinse your mouth. You may not feel as if you're practicing good dental hygiene, but you're actually doing your jaw and gums a big favor. Once the clot has been firmly established, you can rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water (which also eases pain and swelling) or an antiseptic mouth rise (to prevent infection).
2. Ice Your Jaw
Your face may swell up within that initial 2-hour window following your wisdom tooth extraction. You can reduce this swelling—and reduce some of your discomfort in the process—simply by applying ice to your jaw. You may use anything from a genuine ice pack to a bag of frozen peas as long as your skin is protected by a layer of rubber or fabric. Apply the ice pack in 15-minute rotations for best results.
3. Steer Clear of Alcohol and Tobacco
You may crave a soothing drink after a wisdom tooth extraction, but alcohol is exactly the wrong beverage to consume. This is because alcohol has a drying effect on the tissues. A dry mouth recovering from wisdom tooth surgery can develop an agonizing condition called dry socket, with the protective blood clot popping out of the socket and exposing sensitive nerve tissue. Tobacco is harmful for your mouth under any conditions, but it can prove especially problematic after you've had oral surgery. Not only could your healing process drag on for longer than necessary, but you may also be more vulnerable to oral infections.
4. Eat and Drink With Care
Before you even settle into the dentist's hair for your wisdom tooth extraction, make sure that you've stocked your pantry with soft but nourishing foods, from mashed potatoes and applesauce to soup and yogurt. You can also supplement your diet with protein shakes or smoothies. At the same time, however, make a point of leaving drinking straws off of your shopping list. Sucking on a straw that disrupt your blood clot and leave you suffering from a dry socket.
With a little luck and some smart home care practice, your wisdom tooth extraction will stop bothering within a week or so. Ask your dentist for any additional tips on how to recovery from your extraction like a champ!
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