- Oral Health
How to recover after wisdom tooth removal
So you've had/ are having your wisdom teeth/tooth removed.
Wisdom teeth are the last and third molars to grow through usually between the mid teens to early twenties but more commonly they appear in later teens, in some cases they come in sooner rather than later.
Impacted wisdom teeth: are the ones that grow through and cannot break the gum whether they stop before, are stuck or grow into another tooth. If they have grown into another tooth, are causing pain or are a risk for other complications they can be removed/dug out.
wisdom teeth that need removed: often just teeth that grow in the wrong way, pierce the gum and grow into another or are constantly hurting/at risk of infection. These break the gums.
Your hospital surgeon is the most likely person to remove them under general or local anaesthetic, if you have had general you are more likely to feel much worse after than local and will be kept in hospital for half a day after surgery. Many dentists will not touch them as they are a hazard and they aren't allowed to use general to remove them.
Now let's get onto what to do after surgery:
It's best to get home and eat/drink whilst your mouth is still numb. You can pretty much eat and drink whatever you want besides alcohol personally I found ice tea and Dr Pepper really soothing on my mouth even after the numbness had worn off and because I wasn't eating so much they were keeping my sugar levels up.
Foods to try:
warm soup, quiche (the first thing I had and it was very easy), noodle e.g. pot noodle, mashed potato and gravy, mashed banana and shortcrust soft pie e.g. chicken or steak are quite easy to eat. Personally I could eat solids straight away but some people really struggle, be sure to try and keep the food away from the extraction site to prevent infection and food becoming lodged in there.
It is common to feel nauseous for 1-3 days after surgery and lose appetite, this is partly due to the stress it has caused and the fact that there will be blood leaking from the site into your mouth and swallowing it makes you feel bad. Within 1+ days the blood clot begins to rot and it tastes and smells AWFUL even if it isn't infected (you probably know what I mean, yes you with the bad breath!) and it will make you feel sick. DO NOT SWALLOW it, have a spit cup at hand and spit it out as and when you feel it. Try to avoid brushing your teeth for the first day and brush away from the extraction site.
After 24 hours is up you may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth round with a small amount of Corsodyl mouthwash it really does help and it helps for a short period with the breath problem. You can swill it near the extraction site and it shouldn't cause pain. boil some warm water and salt it to rinse the mouth around to help prevent infection.
Usually around 5-8 days after surgery your stitches will snap, dissolve etc and you will see the hole. It is now extremely important that you keep the site clear, brush your teeth 2-4 times a day, rinse your mouth round with warm salt water or your mouthwash after every meal or when you feel necessary (if you have snacked then use your drink to swallow the excess food) as over rinsing can cause dryness of the socket which is extremely painful.
Day 3-4 the pain will be growing worse especially on day 4, day 5 there will be little change and you will still need painkillers, day 6 will be slightly worse and day 7 is by far the WORST day for agony. I didn't sleep at all and I was crying in pain, I felt sick and horrible and that was with painkillers and without dry socket. By day 8 there should be some improvement and my pain was nearly gone by day 11 and after 12 weeks I was fine.
Almost 4 weeks on and the socket is nearly closed over and I have had no problems.
It is not going to be nice having a tooth out and wisdom teeth are by far the worst. You can take painkillers of choice (I chose 6yrs to adult calpol and it worked along with 3 months to 9 years ibuprofen) and they worked I had them every 4 hours each but after a few days any sort of painkiller will make you feel bad so try and space them out as long as possible between them and only take them if you need them don't take because you're frightened of a twinge.
Things to avoid:
smoking, alcohol, hot drinks, spicy foods such as southern fried chicken or curry, too much dairy as it is full of bacteria which have been known to cause infections in tooth sockets, chocolate as you very well know it gets everywhere in your mouth and in the socket it will be a problem, mince meat as it it full of little bits, chewy sweets and hard sweets for obvious reasons. You can however eat crisps if you can manage them the salt will do you no harm in them it may actually help prevent infection. It is better to eat what you can and if you can eat solid foods there's no reason why you shouldn't if you are struggling it is important to get sugar and stay very well hydrated.
Tips on how to feel better:
sleep propped up with your head above your heart, this works the same way for piercings by helping to reduce swelling also it will be hard to sleep even on your opposite side as it will still put pressure on your jaw. taking naps in the day if you can't sleep at night will help.
a warm bath, helps you feel better in general and will relax you.
keep the hands out of the mouth, the same way you catch a cold or a stomach bug you can infect your tooth socket or infect yourself with the flu virus/norovirus etc and then you will be even worse so keep the hands out and keep them washed.
keep your bedding and clothes nice and clean, for obvious reasons.
stay off of work for at least a week, you really aren't going to be well enough and I don't know anyone who was well enough after a week to go back to work or school, you will be and probably are shaky, tired, in pain, your teeth are fuzzy, your eyes are hurting, you feel run down and your mouth is disgusting you won't be as strong as you are and getting yourself cold or stressed is only going to make it worse, plus the other people around you coughing and sneezing are a hazard.
keep warm and inside, for obvious reasons, getting cold will only make you feel worse.
avoid smoking for as long as possible, could it be your chance to quit? it will dry up, possibly infect and cause you a lot of pain you might think you'll be okay now (if you haven't had it out yet) but you won't be.
avoid alcohol, for obvious reasons especially seeing as you'll have medication in your system.
avoid exercise, hard work etc as these will pump that blood and cause it to bleed, the blood clot may even suction pop out of the socket and it will make you feel even worse.
don't share any personal items with anyone or kiss anyone until the socket is healed over enough (2 weeks minimum) and the socket has closed over to prevent infection/colds etc getting sick will slow down the healing process, oral sex can cause even more problems due to lack of hygiene and of course the diseases that could be spread to your blood stream through it with an open wound, give that a month.
There's no real way to speed up the healing process other than preventing dry socket, infection and staying in bed as your body will heal at its own pace. It isn't going to be nice and it is going to last for nearly two weeks and over a month for the tooth socket to fully close over (but it won't hurt after 2 weeks) Try to avoid doing anything stressful as mentioned above as it can and will likely cause problems.
Signs of infection:
abnormal amounts of swelling and redness a few days after surgery
nausea/vomiting after the first day
a high temperature/fever
swollen lymph nodes
thick yellow or green puss leaking from the site.
Symptoms of dry socket:
excessive saliva and bleeding
the blood clot having popped out too early
stitches that have broken too soon
extreme pain even with painkillers
if you can see into the socket and notice a white patch this could be exposed bone.
loss of senses that does not return or gets worse.
aches and pains
bad breath that gets worse.
common and normal symptoms after tooth removal:
tiredness, pain, mild nausea (worse is done under general), bleeding, stiffness of the jaw, fuzzy feeling in teeth, teeth that feel like they may be wobbly or about to fall out, a bad taste in the mouth, bad breath, feeling run down, loss of appetite, weakness of limbs, loss of sense of taste, a funny feeling in your tongue, bruising both in and out of the mouth, swollen cheek/jaw, ear pain, swollen glands in the neck, sore throat, stuffy nose.
It is a bigger surgical procedure than you give it credit for and if you are concerned you have something wrong then contact a healthcare professional immediately as you may need treatment. If you have an infection you will know about it and it will make you very bad as would dry socket it wouldn't just be sore and tired and hot.