Wisdom teeth removal may be a life milestone, a rite of passage — most people have them taken out in their early to mid-20s — but it’s definitely no picnic.
Relax. It’s actually not as bad as you think — with the right care and wisdom teeth recovery tips. Here’s what to do and what not to do to encourage the healing process of wisdom teeth and feel great again.
Take Time to Recover.
Don’t be too anxious to get back to normal life. You’ve just had oral surgery, and like any other kind of surgery, your body needs time to heal and recover. The healing process of wisdom teeth can take a few days — it’s different for everybody. Plan to have the procedure when you can take time off from school and work. Elevate your head and cozy up on the sofa with some comfy pillows. Binge watch the daylights out of Netflix. Your mouth deserves the time to rest and recover.
Your mouth may feel sore following the procedure, but a body’s gotta eat, especially in recovery. In the beginning, stick to very soft food to eat after wisdom teeth removal, such as:
- mashed potatoes
- cottage cheese
- apple sauce
Tea Bags Can Be Lifesavers.
Tea contains tannic acid, which helps to contract blood vessels and reduce bleeding. But it’s not best by the cup. Instead, place a moist room temperature tea bag on the surgical area and bite down firmly for 20 to 30 minutes.
Rinse with Salt Water.
Begin saltwater mouth rinses after the first day of wisdom teeth removal recovery. Mix a solution of salt and warm water. Rinse several times a day, especially after eating or drinking. This helps reduce swelling, pain, and prevents infection.
Pro tip: Don’t spit out the water when you rinse. This can damage the stitches in your mouth. Instead, lean your mouth over the sink and gently dribble the water out.
Stretch Your Mouth.
Your mouth will naturally feel stiff after surgery. It’s not pleasant and you won’t feel like opening your mouth much at all. But like stretching a sore muscle, the movement may feel uncomfortable, but it will help you heal. Stretch your mouth slowly and gently. Easy does it.
What to Avoid:
In addition to the previous wisdom teeth removal tips, here’s what you should avoid. Otherwise, you could derail or delay recovery.
Don’t use straws. You might dislodge a blood clot in the socket or suffer from dry socket .
Avoid carbonated beverages for the first 24 hours. Abstain from alcohol for a few days, if not a week. Avoid smoking.
Don’t blow your nose. If you experience nasal drainage or stuffiness as a result of the surgery, this can be a challenge. For the first 2 weeks of wisdom teeth recovery, gently wipe your nose without actually blowing.