A surgical procedure is usually required when removing an impacted wisdom tooth and because of this, post-operative care is necessary to make sure everything is okay after the treatment. Proper aftercare and post-operative care are also important to prevent any tooth infection, pains and other complications. Keep reading about wisdom tooth removal.
Why is Post-Operative Care Important?
A couple of things are to be expected after your wisdom tooth extraction. Here are some of them:
Most of the time, patients are able to recover quickly. However, did you know that if you fail to take care of the extracted area, a dental condition called ‘dry socket’ can occur? Dry socket refers to a painful condition caused by a blood clot that forms where the extracted tooth was. This clot helps to protect the bone, tissues and nerves underneath while the affected area heals. This commonly happens after a tooth extraction.
The presence of a dry socket means that the blood clot wasn’t able to form or has dislodged, therefore leaving the bones and the nerves in the gums exposed. Aside from the pain, a dry socket can cause bad breath together with an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Moreover, the patient may also develop swollen lymph nodes in the neck area coupled with low-grade fever.
If you want to prevent developing a dry socket and other dental problems, here are a couple of post-operative care instructions that you can follow:
Basically, it is normal to experience some slight bleeding after your wisdom tooth extraction. It may even last for a period of time. Remember to keep the gauze pad over the extraction site for at least 30 minutes after the surgery. However, if you are experiencing heavy bleeding, what you can do is bite down on the gauze pads for 30 minutes.
Once the bleeding has stopped, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of lukewarm water. Also, when you eat, you can start with clear liquids and soft foods first. An example of these are eggs, gelatins, puddings and cooked cereals. In addition, you can also liquefy fruits, vegetables, and meat before eating them so you can avoid dislodging the clot. Furthermore, in the meantime, you should avoid drinking carbonated beverages and eating hard-to-chew foods such as nuts, popcorn, etc.
If swelling starts to develop on the affected area, you can apply ice packs outside of your mouth for 20 minutes with intervals. Just keep doing this for about two days to minimize swelling, bruising or discomfort.
4. Mouth Care
One thing to remember is to avoid drinking or talking for the first two hours after the surgery. You should rest for the entire day. And if you have to drink, it’s best to use a straw in order to prevent the blood clot from dislodging. Take note, avoid participating or doing strenuous or vigorous activities for about a few days and refrain from spitting excessively on the day of their wisdom tooth surgery or as long as there is still bleeding. Also, don’t forget to brush your teeth carefully the night after the surgery. And when you do, try to avoid the affected area.
Your dentist will prescribe you a couple of pain medications and antibiotics. If the patient is taking strong narcotic pain medication, he or she will be asked not to drive home. Instead, its best if the patient has somebody who can drive them home. Also, do not drink any alcoholic beverages at the meantime.
When to Call Your Dental Professional
Truthfully, you will experience a couple of side effects after a wisdom tooth extraction. For example pain and swelling can be felt for at least several days but don’t worry, your condition will definitely improve as the day goes by.
However, if you are starting to experience the following symptoms, you need to call or visit your dentist as soon as possible:
- The swelling is worsening.
- There is excessive bleeding and it won’t subside.
- If after the surgery, the patient is feeling severe throbbing pain that has lasted for about three to four days.
- Persistent fever.
In general, whether you have one or more tooth extracted, it is very important to follow your dentist’s instructions so you can easily go through the entire procedure as well as the healing process without any complications.