If you are scheduled for wisdom teeth removal, knowing how to take care of yourself and your mouth properly after surgery can help ensure against unnecessary complications and discomfort during your recovery, minimizing pain and chances of issues like excessive bleeding or swelling, infection or dry socket. Here is what you need to know to help yourself to a comfortable and complete recovery after wisdom teeth removal surgery:
Once your surgery is complete and you have had a little time to recover from anesthesia, you will be sent home to recover. Gauze will have been placed over your surgical sites, which should be left in place for 30 minutes, then discarded. It is important to avoid touching the surgical sites, and you should not do any vigorous mouth rinsing, since disturbing the wound can dislodge its blood clot and cause bleeding.
You may have some nausea and perhaps vomiting following surgery, which will subside as the anesthesia clears from your system. You will begin to feel some pain and discomfort as the local anesthesia begins to wear off. When that happens, take your pain medication as directed. Rest is important, since too much activity during the first 24 hours can inhibit healing, and swelling can be minimized by applying ice packs to your face.
You can expect some oozing of blood from the surgical sites for 24 to 48 hours. If heavier bleeding is an issue, place a gauze pad over your wounds and bite down on it for 30 minutes. If that does not resolve bleeding, call Dr. Arroyo’s office for further instructions.Some pain is also to be expected after surgery, which should gradually subside within the first few days. If pain does not begin to improve within a few days or gets worse, call Dr. Arroyo’s office. There may also be some stiffness in the jaw, and in some cases, temporary numbness in the lip, chin, or tongue.
You can also expect some swelling, typically around the mouth, cheeks and eye area, which generally appears the day after surgery. Applying ice packs to the face for the first 36 hours after surgery can minimize swelling.Bruising is also common after wisdom teeth removal, generally appearing two or three days after surgery as a response to facial swelling. Applying moist heat to the affected areas can help it resolve more quickly.
A well-balanced diet is essential to healing, so eating well and staying hydrated with plenty of liquids is important. However, care must be taken to protect your surgical sites during healing. For the first few days, very soft foods or liquids, like soups or smoothies, are a must, and be careful to chew away from your wounds. Do not use a straw, since the pressure caused by sucking can dislodge blood clots.
While rinsing your mouth is not recommended the day of your surgery, it is very necessary the day after and throughout the healing period. Rinse with warm salt-water five or six times a day, especially after meals. Tooth brushing should also be done, but be gentle and avoid surgical sites.
If you have been prescribed antibiotics, it is extremely important to take them as directed. Skipping doses or discontinuing antibiotics too soon can increase your chances of infection.
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