Wisdom teeth extraction surgery is a relatively standard procedure. Whilst it is a routine procedure for your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, it may not feel the quite same for you. Following is some information about wisdom tooth extraction and tips for what can be done to assist with a speedy recovery.
The day of your surgery
Depending on the degree of difficulty, wisdom tooth surgery is done under either local or general anaesthetic.
If the extraction is simple it can be performed in your oral surgeon’s rooms using local anaesthetic. During the procedure you may be given an oral sedative, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and/or intravenous sedation to help you relax.
More complicated wisdom teeth extractions will require a general anaesthetic, you’ll will go to a private day surgery. Whilst the actual operation is quick, the whole procedure from admission to going home can take half a day.
Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will discuss the anaesthetic options with you, so you know what to expect.
After your surgery, you will be given instructions for pain relief and what to do during home care. At this stage pain, swelling, and slight oozing of blood are normal. Application of an icepack can assist with swelling and discomfort.
Most oral surgeons will tell you only to eat soft foods during the first few days to minimise discomfort, keep the wound clean and prevent the blood clot from dislodging.
The blood clot that forms over your socket will protect your jaw bone and nerves during the healing process. This blood clot is delicate for the first 24 hours after surgery. Loss of this clot can lead to a condition known as dry socket. Dry socket can cause severe pain and can lead to complications.
Working and driving
It’s a good idea to take a day or two off after surgery as you recover from the anaesthetic. If you received a sedative, you should wait for at least 24 hours before driving, and at least 48 hours after receiving a general anaesthetic.
Home care advice
Your oral surgeon should provide you with wisdom tooth removal recovery tips. Taking care of your mouth will speed up healing and prevent infections from taking hold.
The most common advice you’ll hear is:
1) Not to brush your teeth or floss or use mouthwash for at least a day after the procedure.
2) Starting the day after your operation, you can use salt water to gently rinse your mouth. Be gentle and don’t vigorously rinse or spit the water out.
3) Eat soft cool foods for the first day, and soft foods for the first week after your surgery.
4) Avoid drinking from a straw, as this can dislodge the blood clot that’s protecting the wound.
If you notice severe pain, including in your jaw, jawbone, eyes, ears, and throat, or excessive bleeding days after your operation, get in touch with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon. While some soreness is normal, it should start to subside a week after your operation. Rising pain can indicate potential complications and possible infection.
How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?
The time from getting your wisdom teeth removed to recovery will depend on you. People heal at different rates, and while one person may be walking around a day after they had their teeth removed, another may be out for several days.
Most people start feeling better about three days after the surgery, but you may still have swelling and pain for several weeks after the surgery
How to speed up healing
The best way to speed up healing is to ensure that the blood clot that protects the wound remains in place. You can do so by following the home care advice mentioned above.
To prevent infections, you need to exercise good oral hygiene during the recovery process. Also, try and eat healthy, soft foods that are nutritious. Your body needs a lot of fuel to recover and heal from wisdom teeth extraction, so try to eat plenty of liquids, soft vegetables, soft eggs, smoothies, yogurts, soups, and other approved foods. Smoking and alcohol should be avoided during the healing period.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your Dr Kristian van Mourik.