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Tips for Safe, Swift Wisdom Teeth Recovery

Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are the last permanent teeth to erupt. They are the very back teeth and are not needed for chewing. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 20, but they can continue to erupt until age 30.  Some wisdom teeth become impacted or blocked as they try to push through the gum. This often causes pain and infection. There is no way you can prevent impacted wisdom teeth, and the best treatment is usually wisdom teeth removal with recovery aftercare. Wisdom teeth can also grow in a wrong angle, crowding your other teeth, which causes dental problems. With proper post wisdom teeth removal care, the operation does not have any impact on your smile or appearance.

Wisdom teeth removal usually is done in an oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s office with sedation and local anesthesia. You will be advised not to eat before surgery, and your surgeon will tell you the number of hours you should fast. Someone should drive you to and from the appointment. After the wisdom teeth extraction and recovery from the anesthetic and the blood loss, you will be sent home. Your surgeon may prescribe painkillers and antibiotics for post wisdom teeth removal care and pain management. Equally as important, you will receive a list of instructions that you must follow to minimize discomfort and complications.

Post wisdom teeth removal and with proper care, most people have little to no pain after surgery, but swelling and mild discomfort usually lasts for about three days. You may need a few weeks for complete wisdom teeth recovery and healing, but this should not interfere with your daily activities. Follow your doctor’s instructions for a smooth recovery. Here are some tips for the first three days following surgery:

  • If your jaw or face is swollen, use an ice pack for 20 minutes. Remove the ice pack for 20 minutes and reapply for 20 minutes. Do this for as long as necessary to control discomfort. Never apply the ice pack directly to the skin. Wrap it in a cloth.
  • If your jaw is sore but not very swollen, apply moist heat. You can use a warm, moist towel. Minor discomfort can often be relieved with 15 to 20 minutes of moist heat. Moderate to severe soreness can benefit from moist heat from 30 minutes to two hours. Be sure to keep the towel moist with warm, not hot, water to prevent burning the skin.
  • Exercise your jaw by gently opening and closing your mouth post wisdom teeth removal for care of muscle tension. Jaw stiffness may last for a few days to a week, so it is important to do stretching exercises provided by your surgeon.
  • Eat soft foods such as soup, ice cream, cooked cereals, and mashed vegetables.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water and juice.
  • For at least 4 days post wisdom teeth removal take care not to drink any carbonated beverages.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes, use straws, or spit or rinse your mouth vigorously for 72 hours after surgery. This can sometimes cause the blood clots needed for healing to dislodge.
  • Resume brushing your teeth on the second day after surgery taking care to avoid any blood clots.
  • During the time it takes for wisdom teeth recovery, pamper yourself by catching up on books, movies, and crafts for the number of days your surgeon advises you to limit your activity!
  • Call the doctor if you develop extreme pain or a fever. Also, keep an eye on the wound site. If it looks empty (no blood clot) you may need additional treatment so the wound will heal correctly.

Peak OMS is one of Colorado’s leading practices for oral and maxillofacial surgery. Based in Lakewood, we have been serving people in Denver and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years. Please contact us with your questions and concerns about wisdom teeth extraction or recovery and other oral and facial surgeries.

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