Your dentist recommended that you have your wisdom teeth removed and you’ve gone ahead and scheduled the surgery. As the date of your wisdom teeth extraction gets nearer and nearer, you might be wondering what to expect after the surgery. How much time will you have to take off to recover and when will you be able to resume your usual activities?
How you feel after surgery and when you can get back to your normal life afterward depends on a few factors, including the type of surgery you end up having. Here’s what you can generally expect after an oral surgeon removes your wisdom teeth.
What You’ll Feel After Surgery
What you feel right after wisdom tooth surgery depends in large part on the type of anesthetic your dentist gives you. Some people decide to have their teeth extracted using only local anesthesia, which numbs the area but leaves the patient completely awake during the process. They’re able to hear and communicate with their dentist throughout the extraction.
If you only have local anesthetic, you’ll be alert immediately after your extraction. Your mouth will feel numb right afterward and you might feel a tingling sensation as the anesthetic wears off.
There’s also the option of having IV sedation or general anesthesia during the removal of your wisdom teeth. If you opt for sedation or general anesthesia, you’ll need some time to “come to” after your surgery. You might feel woozy and out-of-it as you wake up and the anesthetic or sedative wears off.
What to Eat After Surgery
During the first 24 hours after your wisdom teeth extraction, you’ll want to stick to soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding, and applesauce.
As you heal, you can begin to eat foods such as cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, and other semi-soft foods. Keep avoiding crunchy or hard foods until you get the all-clear from your dentist.
Along with eating soft or semi-soft foods, it’s a good idea to avoid eating anything that might irritate or inflame the healing areas of your mouth. Steer clear of spicy foods as well as very hot or very cold foods.
When drinking, take sips directly from a glass or a bottle. Don’t use a straw for about a week after your surgery. The pressure created when you suck on a straw can cause the clots in the healing sockets to become loose, leading to an uncomfortable condition known as dry socket.
How to Care for Your Mouth After Wisdom Tooth Removal
It’s a good idea to practice good oral hygiene after your surgery, even if doing so seems uncomfortable. For the first 24 hours after surgery, your dentist will most likely advise against brushing or flossing.
After that, you can go back to brushing your teeth. Use a soft-bristled brush and be extra gentle as you brush, especially in the area near where your teeth were taken out. After you brush, rinse your mouth out with saltwater to help encourage healing.
What to Do About Complications After Surgery
Following your dentist’s instructions after wisdom tooth surgery can help you avoid complications, such as a dry socket. Your dentist might also use a growth factor protein during the surgery to help reduce the risk of dry socket developing.
Signs of complications can include increased pain in the surgical area, usually developing a few days after the surgery. If you have a nerve issue, you might notice persistent tingling or numbness in the area.
Should you develop dry socket or another complication, such as nerve pain or numbness, the best thing to do is see your dentist. In the case of a dry socket, they can clean the area and give you instructions on how to care for the socket at home to help it heal.
When Does Life Go Back to Normal After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
How long can you expect to put your life on hold after wisdom tooth removal surgery? Usually, you’ll want to give yourself at least a few days to rest up and recover, even if you have the surgery with an only local anesthetic.
You’re likely to experience some swelling and discomfort in the area for a few days after surgery. You might not feel like working or interacting with other people during that time.
Giving yourself time to heal and recover after your surgery can also help to lower the risk of complications, and can mean that your healing time is shorter than it would be if you tried to rush things.
Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area who also performs wisdom tooth extractions. He can help you plan your surgery and guide you through the recovery period. To schedule an appointment in Miami, FL, call 305-547-8687 today.