Let’s talk about post-operative care. After your wisdom teeth come out. There are several things that are important to know. The first is that we’re going to provide you with some extra gauze to take home. What we want you to do is to change that gauze by folding up into a little square and change it out roughly every half an hour for the next two to three hours. What this does is it helps apply some pressure to the area to really stop any oozing. Now, in the event that there’s ongoing bleeding which is very uncommon, that’s the case we actually also include in our bag that we give you here in the office, some tea bags and there’s instructions for how to use them but they can be dampened and placed on either side of the mouth and one can bite down on those tea bags to also help stop the bleeding. And so we always provide you with those just in the event you’ll need them but again most patients definitely don’t need to use those. Keeping your mouth clean is incredibly important after surgery so brush the teeth avoid the surgical sites themselves but definitely brush your teeth to keep things clean.
If you are provided an antibiotic mouth rinse, you can start using that the day of surgery. When you use that rinse, swish gently with it and then let it fall out of your mouth try not to spit it out vigorously. In addition, we’ll provide you with a small little syringe it has a curved tip and what we want you to start doing is irrigating the extraction site starting the third day after surgery. And you can do that with just some salt water. And the reason we don’t want you doing that any earlier is that can actually lead to dry sockets. So wait several days before you start rinsing those areas. But do do that because it will help keep the area clean and prevent food and debris from accumulating within those regions.
In regards to diet we recommend that most patients adhere to a soft diet for usually about a week after surgery. Good examples of foods include scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, really soft things generally avoid foods that are very acidic or spicy. Try to keep more of a bland diet. And as you start to feel better you can advance your diet to more of a regular diet. In addition swelling can be profound and it tends to peak the third day after surgery so it generally gets worse before it gets better. Some people also have some bruising and cracking in the corners of their lips etc. From a ice standpoint we recommend icing your face 20 minutes on 20 minutes off. Really ice is the most helpful for the first 24 hours after surgery. After the first 24 hours it can be helpful from a pain perspective but usually doesn’t make that big of a difference in regards to ongoing swelling. After several days some patients prefer to transition from ice to heat that can help relax some of the muscles in the back of your jaw which can improve mouth opening and overall comfort.
Most patients when they wake up from having their wisdom teeth removed will have numbing medication or local anesthesia in place. That local anesthesia ranges in duration from usually about two hours up to almost eight hours depending on what type of medication there is. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for your pain to increase as the medications wear off. We generally recommend that patients take an nsaid or an ibuprofen type of medication every six hours for the first three days at least. Really around the clock whether you have pain or not. That helps with swelling it helps with any residual pain. Most patients are also provided with an additional medication that’s a little bit stronger which can be taken for breakthrough pain.
Many patients are also prescribed a anti-nausea medication which can be used in the event that you develop nausea and vomiting after your surgery which is an unfortunate side effect of the anesthesia. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot that formed within the extraction site comes out prematurely. And so dry sockets not an infection it’s not dangerous but it’s just extremely uncomfortable because you have exposed jaw bone in your mouth. So if you feel like you’re experiencing uncontrolled pain, patients will often complain of a foul taste in their mouth, let us know because if that’s the case we definitely want to see you back in the office to see if there’s something we can do to help improve how you’re feeling and expedite your healing.