Having your wisdom teeth removed is almost a rite of passage similar to passing your driving test or going on your first trip to Europe. Only not quite as much fun…It’s a daunting prospect, having up to four teeth removed at once and if they’re all coming out at different angles or impacted, then it can be a tricky job. You may need a general anesthetic if you’re a complicated case, but most people get by with a local and maybe some light sedation.
The procedure itself
There’ll be some tugging and pressure, as well as maybe some drilling. As your wisdom teeth are at the back of your jaws, you may need clamps to hold open your mouth. If you’re anesthetised, then none of this will matter much, but you’ll feel groggy and possibly sick after you come around.
The first couple of days afterwards
If you had a GA, then you should avoid driving for at least 48 hours after you get home. You will experience pain and swelling and the intensity of this will vary according to how many teeth were removed and how impacted they were. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen will help to reduce your discomfort, but if you start to run a temperature, call your dentist immediately.
Keeping your mouth clean
You shouldn’t attempt to clean your teeth for at least two days post-surgery as you need the blood clots over the sockets to harden so they protect the site. Swishing mouthwash is also a bad idea as this can dislodge the clots as well. Gentle rinsing with a mouthwash is OK, but only after at least 24 hours.
Eating and drinking
You really won’t want to chew anything! It can be very hard to open your mouth fully anyway, so stick to soups, yoghurt, protein shakes, scrambled egg and even baby food. Avoid fibrous foods like parsley garnishes and don’t drink alcohol for at least two days, as this can affect the blood clots or interact with any residual anesthetic.It’ll probably be five or six days before you feel up to even trying to chew; if it really hurts, then leave it for another day or so.
After a week
Your swelling should be subsiding, but you may have some spectacular bruising making its way across your face. To help with this, you can use ice packs for a few minutes at a time throughout the day.
Rest as much as possible
You’ll feel very tired, so rest up as much as you can. Your body is healing itself, which takes up a lot of energy. Stay hydrated, eat little and often and if you’re a smoker, try to resist the urge as this can affect bone healing.If you feel suddenly unwell, or the pain spikes despite the meds or you see blood or pus then you may have developed an infection, so seek help immediately.