After a wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist should give you aftercare instructions. You should follow these instructions to the letter so that you avoid complications and recover quickly. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind after a wisdom tooth extraction.
Be Careful not to Remove the Blood Clot
After your wisdom teeth are extracted, the tissue will heal over and form a blood clot. It's very important for this blood clot to stay in place. You can avoid removing a blood clot by avoiding sucking on straw or smoking after surgery. You should also be gentle when you clean your teeth.
If the blood clot is dislodged, you could develop what's known as dry socket. A dry socket means that the extraction site's underlying nerves and bones are exposed to infection and debris. A dry socket can be painful and get infected, so if you dislodge the blood clot, you'll want to revisit your dentist.
Start with Ice and Then Go to Heat Packs
You may be tempted to use a heating pack on your face because it feels good. However, for the first days of surgery, you should use an ice pack instead. When heat is applied to the body, the blood vessels are dilate—meaning that you can increase potential bruising and swelling. Ice is a better option since it causes blood vessels to shrink down and reduce swelling. Once swelling has decreased, then you can start using a heating pack.
Get Good Nourishment with the Right Foods
You'll want to eat very soft foods while you heal. You may be tempted to just drink milkshakes and eat ice cream, but it's vital to get good nutrients in your body to aid healing. Try foods like:
- Mashed bananas
- Scrambled eggs
- Mashed potatoes
- Greek yogurt
- Broth soups
- Creamy soups
If you are having trouble feeling sated after eating, try adding a protein shake to your diet since it can make you feel full for longer.
Keep the Site Clean
You brush or vigorously rinse your mouth the day after surgery, since this can be painful and possibly dislodge the blood clot. However, your doctor may allow you to gently brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out with a prescribed mouth rinse, like chlorhexidine. After you eat, you should gently rinse your mouth out with salt water, since it has antibacterial properties and since this will keep the extraction site clear of debris.
Talk with your dentist for more information about healing after your wisdom tooth extraction.