Unfortunately, the unpleasantness of wisdom teeth extraction only increases after the procedure, when the patient is left with open wounds in his or her mouth. Luckily, most dentists prescribe painkillers, so the patient can focus on proper care of his or her mouth without having to deal with too much discomfort.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the holes clean. Open wounds in the mouth are dangerous, and can lead to serious health problems.
Immediately after surgery, keep sterile gauze pads handy to absorb the bleeding, and bite on them periodically. If bleeding continues past 24 hours, consult your dentist, as this could be a sign of a more serious problem. Be careful not to bite your lips, tongue, or cheek while your mouth is numb, and prop up your head to help the blood clot. There will most likely be swelling, so be prepared to keep an icepack pressed against your cheeks for the first 24 hours, and relax. Physical activity can increase bleeding and delay healing.
Your diet for the first few days should consist of soft foods like pudding and soup. These foods do not require chewing, and also have a much lower risk of getting caught in your wounds. Avoid using a straw for the first few days, as the suction can break the forming clots loose, reopening the wounds.
Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water several times a day after the first day. This will help with swelling, relieve pain, and keep the area clean. Be extra careful brushing your teeth and tongue, and make sure that while you brush gently, you also do an extremely thorough job. Brushing is your opportunity to keep the mouth free of any food particles or plaque that could get stuck in your wounds, causing infection or the very painful “dry socket” complication.
It is also very important to not smoke for the first 24 hours after surgery. Smoking dries out the mouth and decreases the blood supply, increasing the risk of infection, and the sucking motion can loosen the clots. Furthermore, smoking introduces germs and contaminants to the surgery area, compromising your health and the healing process.
As you begin to add solid foods back into your diet, make sure you rinse your mouth and the surgical area carefully after every meal. Your dentist may provide you with special tools to do this, as well as careful instructions for healing. Remember, follow the dentist’s instructions, and keep the area clean, and your mouth will heal up quickly and virtually painlessly.