If you or your child is having wisdom teeth removed you should know that the process of removal is a routine and practiced procedure for many experienced dentists and oral surgeons. Having prior knowledge of what to expect about wisdom teeth removal can help you manage your expectations or your child’s anxieties. These tips will help you guide you to make prior and necessary arrangements for the day of surgery.
A responsible adult is needed to drive the patient to and from surgery since IV sedation or General Anesthesia is typically used. You should cancel all appointments, school or work for the remainder of the day. Patients who have wisdom teeth removed should not make any decisions for the remainder of the day post surgery. It is important to refrain from heavy activity for 24 hours after any oral surgery including wisdom teeth removal.
An individual’s pain can vary after oral surgery. Some patients experience the most pain and discomfort 3 to 5 days after surgery. There tends to be mild tenderness in the treated area for up to two weeks. Moderate swelling is common from wisdom teeth removal and swelling will reach its peak 48 to 72 hours after surgery. You should ice the cheeks during the first 24 hours to help reduce swelling and pain. You can alternate putting ice on the patient’s cheeks 20 minutes on and 5 minutes off for the first 24 hours. Typically using ice to reduce cheek swelling works for the first 24 hours, after the first 24 hours moist heat should be applied.
There will be some bleeding after wisdom teeth removal, but bleeding should be minimal once you get home. Your doctor should supply an ample amount of gauze pads to place on the extraction site. If bleeding persists continue biting on clean, dry gauze. A caretaker can help change the extraction site with new gauze as needed. In certain instances mild oozing from the extraction site will happen up to 36 hours post surgery. Pressure will stop the bleeding so biting on gauze will help if bleeding persists. Don’t forget to remove gauze when eating or drinking. If bleeding seems problematic try placing a moist tea bag on extraction site. Tannic acid from tea helps stop bleeding.
Do not rinse the first day after surgery and don’t use a drinking straw for the first 24 hours. Refrain from smoking after having wisdom teeth removed. Smoking within 48 hours of surgery can cause painful dry sockets. Occasionally people will have a slight discoloration to the face and neck area from dissipation of blood in the tissues after wisdom teeth removal. Discoloration of the face should resolve itself in a few days. Anesthesia and pain medication with this type of procedure can cause nausea. You should not take narcotic pain medication on an empty stomach. If you have any abnormal pain or worrisome problems after surgery be sure to contact your dentist or oral surgeon.