The removal of wisdom teeth is a common occurrence—almost everyone will have at least one of these large back molars removed, usually during late adolescence or early adulthood. Extraction sometimes requires oral surgery. It’s important to take care of your mouth after the procedure to ensure a complete recovery.
After your teeth are removed, your dentist or oral surgeon will provide instructions on how to care for your mouth. Typical instructions will include:
Take any prescribed medications as instructed. You will probably be prescribed antibiotics and a prescription painkiller. You might also be given a mouthwash to use to help prevent infection.
Use ice and heat to reduce swelling. For the first 24 hours, use ice packs to reduce swelling and discomfort. After that, use moist heat. You’ll probably see the most swelling on the day after the procedure.
Use gauze to stop bleeding. Your dentist will probably supply sterile gauze to take home with you. Use the gauze with gentle pressure to stop any bleeding. If bleeding continues or is severe, contact your dentist.
Take it easy for a few days. If you’ve had oral surgery, you might want to take a few days off work. Exerting yourself could increase your likelihood of infection, slower healing, or dry socket.
Eat soft foods. Avoid anything that requires strong biting or chewing. Soft foods like mashed potatoes, pudding, gelatin, or ice cream can be soothing, but be careful not to eat too much sugar and starch. A protein drink or a liquid meal substitute can help you maintain proper nutrition while you’re healing.
Call the dentist if there are problems. If you have a fever, experience extreme discomfort, or if bleeding is excessive, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for further instructions. These could be signs of unsuccessful healing or an infection.
In addition to these instructions, be sure to follow any additional suggestions provided by your dentist. With appropriate care, your wisdom teeth will heal completely, and you’ll soon be back to normal.