Unless you’re one of the lucky individuals who was born without wisdom teeth, it’s likely you’ll have to get yours removed at some point in your life. For most people, that time arrives in your teenage years. Wisdom teeth typically erupt, or emerge from the gums, between the ages of 17 and 25. However, their eruption often causes a lot of problems for those of us who don’t have jaws large enough to accomodate them.
According to Clement Dentistry, “When the jaw isn’t large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.” This is why dentists and orthodontists recommend the removal of the wisdom teeth when you’re a teenager. But that doesn’t make the prospect of surgery any less scary. If your wisdom teeth are causing problems and need to be removed, here are a few ways to make your recovery from surgery easier.
1. Be Mindful of What You Eat
Certain foods can aggravate the surgical area and cause further complications. Foods with soft and smooth textures are best to eat during recovery. You should definitely avoid sucking drinks through a straw for at least a few days after surgery.
2. Use Ice Packs
Ice packs are great for reducing swelling and speeding recovery time. You can try placing an ice pack on your face for 15 minutes at a time and removing it for 15 minutes to give yourself a break. If the ice pack feels too cold, try wrapping it in a towel before placing it on your face.
3. Don’t Exercise Too Soon
For at least the first 24 hours after your surgery, you should resist the urge to do any exercise and rest instead. If you notice that bleeding and swelling have greatly reduced after this time period, you may be able to return to exercising if you have the energy. It’s best to start off slowly with walking or other low-impact exercises to reduce the chances of complications.
4. Avoid Brushing Against Blood Clots
When you return to brushing your teeth approximately 24 hours after surgery, you need to be careful of any blood clots that may have formed inside your mouth around the surgical area. You should avoid brushing too close to these blood clots so that they don’t become dislodged. A dislodged blood clot can result in a painful condition known as dry socket.
5. Use Tea Bags to Promote Clotting
Tea bags often help with promoting better blood clotting and minimizing pain. A bag containing black tea leaves is best to use because of its high content of tannins. After letting the tea bag boil in hot water for two to three minutes, let it cool before placing it inside the mouth where the wisdom teeth were extracted. Bite down on the bag to hold it in place for five minutes. You can use separate tea bags for each side of your mouth if all your wisdom teeth were pulled.
6. Take Prescribed Pain Medication
You should take all the pain medication and antibiotics that your dentist gives you at the prescribed dosage so that you can heal in greater comfort. Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medicines may provide further relief, but you should check with your dentist before taking them.
After you have your wisdom teeth pulled, you can make the recovery period easier on yourself by taking these additional steps to aid in healing.