The Importance of Post-Op Instructions
Every year, thousands of people have their wisdom teeth extracted. Even though this surgery is routine with minimal complications, it is important to follow the post-op care instruction given to you by your oral surgeon. Following these instructions is critical for a smooth recovery and will help you minimize infection and pain.
Infections in the mouth are serious. Infections that occur after oral surgery are dangerous - bacteria and open wounds do not mix. Additionally, some bacteria lead to periodontal disease, tooth loss, and impact your heart and lungs. Signs of infection after extraction include bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth, bleeding past the first twenty-four hours, and fever. If you think you have an infection, contact our office immediately at 918.491.9996.
Dry sockets are another complication that occurs after wisdom teeth extraction and happens in twenty percent of patients, even when carefully following post-surgery instructions. Dry sockets develop when the blood clot covering the wound is dislodged, uncovering bone and exposing nerves. Dry sockets are extremely painful and can lead to infection. Here are eight tips from Dr. Hudson to make your extraction recovery easier:
Bite down to stop bleeding
Bite down on the gauze pads covering the wounds left from the surgery to stop bleeding. Change gauze every hour or as needed. If gauze sticks, you can gently loosen with tap water to prevent from reopening the wound. Bleeding is typical for 24 hours after surgery.
Practice good oral hygiene
Patients should take care brushing their teeth and should not use a toothbrush near the wounds for the first few days after surgery. Gently rinse your mouth out if necessary with saltwater and avoid mouthwashes.
DO NOT SMOKE
Smoking prevents healing and encourages bacterial growth in the mouth, increasing the chance of infection. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the gums and prevents a clot from forming on the wound. Inhaling on a cigarette can dislodge clots and cause a dry socket.
Minimize your activity after surgery and avoid exercise for the first week.
Swelling is normal
Swelling is normal after wisdom teeth extraction. You can minimize swelling by holding a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel against your face.
After surgery, you will likely be in pain. Be sure to take your pain medicine as scheduled to minimize discomfort as much as possible. If you are in severe pain, please call us at 918.491.9996.
Do not use a straw after surgery. Using a straw can dislodge clots covering your wounds.
Eat soft foods
You will be swollen and in pain for a few days after surgery, so you will want foods that are soft and easy to eat. These foods include applesauce, yogurt, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and soups. You may be sensitive to temperatures while recovering so avoid foods that are very hot or very cold.
If you have a wisdom tooth extraction scheduled and want to talk about preparing for post-op, or would like to schedule your wisdom tooth extraction, contact Dr. Hudson at 918.491.9996.