Hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestor’s diet consisted of extremely rough, coarse food like leaves, roots, nuts and meats. Because of these eating habits, our species developed a third set of molars, now known as wisdom teeth, to add more chewing power and durability to the mouth.
Unfortunately, evolutionary history has also resulted in smaller human jaws that don’t allow much room for these wisdom teeth to grow properly. Our other permanent teeth block or impact the wisdom teeth and, along with extreme discomfort and pain, can eventually lead to serious infections and various other oral complications.
Thankfully, our society has developed a procedure to combat this evolutionary malfunction: wisdom teeth extraction.
Yes, it’s easy to make jokes about loosing your wisdom teeth, but when it’s all said and done, having wisdom teeth removed can be a nerve-racking process, especially when you’re sent home to recover on your own. Below are 5 easy tips to consider when caring for yourself or a loved one during the wisdom teeth extraction recovery process.
1. Take it easy
The first day or two following surgery should be very low-key. Even tasks like bending, lifting, prolonged standing, and jogging can add an excruciating amount of pain, swelling and bleeding. Consider posting up on a couch or bed for at least the first day.
2. Simplify your diet
Yes, having your wisdom teeth removed is a great excuse for a diet of milkshakes and smoothies, but it is vital that you do not use a straw in the days following your surgery. Sucking on a straw can cause irritation and dryness in the incision site. Also avoid extremely hot foods and snacks that could potentially get lodged in the sockets like popcorn, nuts, and rice.
3. Keep it clean
One of the most common errors in post-operative wisdom teeth removal is neglecting to clean the mouth. Keeping your mouth clean is essential when avoiding dry sockets, infection, swelling and discomfort. Consider rinsing your mouth two to three times a day with a warm saltwater solution.
4. Maintain your meds
Unfortunately, rumors about the painful wisdom teeth process are typically true: most patients experience some degree of pain following surgery. However, your dentist will likely prescribe medication for the pain that helps to manage the level of discomfort.
Be sure to accompany each pain pill with small amounts of food and water. Keep in mind that you will likely feel the most amount of pain within five to six hours after the local anesthetic has worn off, so take the pain pills accordingly.
5. Stop the swelling with ice packs
If you happen to catch a glimpse of yourself in a window or mirror following your surgery do not panic: it is common to resemble a cheek-stuffed chipmunk after having your wisdom teeth removed. Unfortunately, this swelling doesn’t tend to reach its maximum capacity until two or three days following the procedure.
Thankfully, ice packs can minimize this often-embarrassing effect. Wrap an ice pack or frozen veggies in a towel and apply firm pressure to the outside of your cheek in twenty-minute intervals.
At Out of This World Dentistry, we understand the concerns, fears and uncertainties you may have about getting your wisdom teeth removed, which is why we specialize in quality patient care and experienced, professional procedures. Let ustake care of you. Call us today to schedule and appointment or to further discuss wisdom teeth options.