Wisdom Tooth Removal: Simple Steps to Get You Ready to Recover

in General 01 January 1999

A Trip to the Dentist

Almost no one looks forward to the prospect of having their wisdom teeth removed. However, if your wisdom teeth are impacted Ė that is, if they are growing in at an angle rather than straight through your gums, it is wise to have them removed.

Although it is likely you will suffer at least some pain from wisdom tooth removal, you can take steps to greatly reduce the discomfort and inconvenience involved. With a bit of forethought and preparation, you can make your recovery more comfortable. You may even be able to shorten your recovery period somewhat.

Set Your Appointment

Check your calendar before setting an appointment for wisdom tooth removal. Try to schedule the procedure during a period where your work load is relatively light, either on the job or at home so that you can allow for recovery time. The best time for wisdom tooth removal is right before the weekend to allow more time to recover.

Stock Up on Essentials

Immediately after your surgery, you probably wonít feel much like running around. Stock up beforehand on essentials such as soft foods and pain relievers to last for at least a week. You should also gather a few favorite movie DVD or books to pass the time while you recover. You may also choose to load a few games, books or movies on your tablet or Smartphone to amuse yourself after your surgery.

Protect the Incision and Control Bleeding

Immediately after your surgery, your incision will be packed with cotton gauze to slow the bleeding. Leave the gauze in for at least half an hour. After removing the gauze, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce bleeding and irritation. If you experience excessive bleeding after about twelve hours, place a tea bag in your mouth Ė the tannins and caffeine should slow the bleeding and may help reduce swelling. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or drinking liquids through straws, at least immediately after your tooth extraction to allow the healing process to proceed without impediment.

Ease Pain and Reduce Swelling

Apply ice to the outside of your jaw for the first seventy-two hours or so to reduce swelling. After seventy-two hours, apply heat instead of cold to relieve pain Ė continuing to apply cold packs may actually increase swelling. You may have been prescribed codeine or another pain reliever to take as needed. Ask your oral surgeon about taking ibuprofen along with your prescription to relieve swelling at the incision site.

Ask for Help if Necessary

Arrange for a ride to and from the dentistís office on the day of your surgery. Donít try to drive or engage in strenuous activity right away, especially if you are taking prescription pain relievers, which may impair your cognitive functions. Donít be afraid to ask for help from friends and family to run errands, bring over a bowl of soup, water your plants or just keep you company while you recover. They will almost certainly be happy to do whatever they can to make your recovery easier.

Marcus Anderson is a former dental assistant who is now retired. He likes to spend his days tending to his garden, and his nights blogging on the Internet.

The British Wheel of Yoga