Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery Tips
Let's answer all your questions about having your wisdom teeth removed.
- How to prepare for the two types of wisdom teeth extractions, including which products to acquire beforehand to help you with the recovery process
- What are the differences between the types of procedures you can have to remove your wisdom teeth
- What you will be able to eat after having your wisdom teeth removed
- How long will the recovery process take
I've had all of my wisdom teeth removed, one side at a time. The first procedure was done by my regular dentist with a local anesthetic, whereas the second procedure was done by an oral surgeon under general anesthetic. I will share my experiences and what I learned.
At first I thought I had tonsillitis. My lymph node in my throat was swollen and my ear was bothering me, so I went to see my regular doctor. She sent me to see my dentist, as the problem was actually that the gums around my bottom wisdom tooth had become infected.
I thought the dentist would simply prescribe something for the infection. Although he did do that, he also decided to remove the wisdom teeth on that side of my mouth.
He put a numbing agent on my gums and when that took hold he injected the freezing. He waited until the freezing had worked its way through the area. Then he began to remove my wisdom teeth. It seemed to be taking awhile, so he started to explain that not all wisdom teeth extractions are the same.
Some people only have one root, while other people can have up to four roots which makes it harder. Of course, I had to be one of the people who had four roots. In the end, he removed my top tooth completely but ended up leaving some of the roots of my bottom wisdom tooth.
He did this because they have to be careful when removing your teeth. The roots are right near a nerve that controls your facial movements. They can actual cause damage to that nerve. That is why he sent me to an oral surgeon to get the other side done.
Keeping the Socket Clean
When he was finished he gave me a prescription for antibiotics and recommended I get an irrigating syringe to clean the socket. Thank goodness there is a pharmacy in the same strip mall as my dentist office so I didn't have to go far to pick this stuff up.
Since I didn't know I was getting my wisdom teeth removed, I had to go to the pharmacy myself with my mouth still frozen and gauze in my mouth. I suggest that if you know ahead of time that you are getting your wisdom teeth removed, take someone with you. They can go pick up your medication and an irrigating syringe while you are getting the procedure done. Even better you can order one online ahead of time at a cheaper price.
This is what my dentist recommended for me to use to clean out the socket after my wisdom teeth were removed. Do not use it the first day as you do not want to disturb the clot.
It was great for removing any food particles that can get stuck in there. The curved end made it easy to use.
What to Eat Afterward
To make matters worse I still had to go to the grocery store as I didn't have soft food at home. I picked up some pudding, applesauce, ice cream, tomato soup, mashed potatoes, and a chicken broth soup.
I found out that tomato or chicken noodle soup alone are not very filling. After eating either of those I would become hungry very quickly. So I made myself potato soup. You can buy or make mashed potatoes then add chicken broth to it to make the mashed potatoes into a thick soup. This held me over for a longer amount of time.
I found with the local anesthetic wisdom tooth removal I had a hard time opening my mouth. So even if I wasn't in pain or the wound was closed I wasn't going to be able to eat many solid foods as I couldn't open my mouth very wide for a couple of days.
I was lucky that I had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on hand, as I didn't think to buy it when I was at the grocery store. It was perfect for something to eat when I couldn't open my mouth too wide and couldn't eat solid foods. It requires very little chewing and it is very filling; I highly recommend it.
Hot and Cold Therapy and Medication
Another good thing to pick up ahead of time is products for your pain management. You will want to have pain medicine on hand. The dentist also recommends a cold pack and then a hot compress for your face.
For the first couple of days put a cold pack on your face to relieve your discomfort and reduce the swelling. After that, you want heat therapy for your face.
I was lucky that I already had a Magic Bag Hot/Cold Pack from a previous injury. I leave mine stored in a Ziploc bag in my freezer so I will always have an ice pack ready. Then when I need heat I can put it in the microwave to make it hot. This thing was perfect for after my wisdom teeth surgeries and for other injuries I have had.
This is perfect to have as you can put in the freezer to use it the first day as a cold compress for your jaw. Then the next few days you can put in the microwave and use it for heat therapy for your jaw. It is flexible so it is useful for any other injuries you may have in the future as well. I leave mine stored in the freezer all the time.
- Pain medication
- Hot/cold pack
- Irrigating syringe
- Mashed potatoes
- Kraft macaroni and cheese
When I got the other side of my mouth done I knew well ahead of time. I had to go see the oral surgeon beforehand to have my vitals checked and go over what to do to prepare for the surgery. Then an appointment was made for the day of the surgery.
I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the surgery. I was working night shift (11 pm to 7 am) at the time of the surgery. So I picked up a Donair on the way into work and ate it right before the deadline. I knew a Donair was filling so that would hold me over through the night.
When I got home from work I had to take the pill they gave me to take in the morning. It is supposed to cut back on your saliva production. Thank goodness it was really small as I have difficulty swallowing pills.
Then my father came over to drive me to my appointment. You need to have someone there to take you home as you will be unable to drive afterward. Hell, some people have a tough time walking afterward. They actually recommend you have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours.
People have different reactions to the medication used. I was able to walk out of there under my own power and fairly sober. The guy who was leaving right before I went in was leaning on his mom and acting like a very happy drunk. When my sister tried to eat something after her wisdom tooth surgery, she ended up being nauseous.
I learned later that the anesthetic can make some people nauseous. I thought it had been the blood that was left in her mouth. So I made sure I got the blood out of my mouth before I ate something. You have to be careful and not really rinse, so you don't remove the blood clot from the socket. I just put some water in my mouth and wiped off my tongue with a paper towel.
I was not nauseous when I ate something, nor did I act drunk. My reaction to the anesthetic was being very tired. Now granted I had been awake all night working so it was time for me to go to sleep anyway, but it was more than that. I would sleep for a few hours then be awake for an hour, eat something then fall asleep again for a few hours. This tiredness lasted for a little over 24 hours.
Healing Time Differences
After my wisdom teeth removal by the dentist with local anesthetic, I had issues with opening my jaw for a couple of days. It could only open wide enough to get a spoon in to eat. It took almost a week for it to feel comfortable opening up all the way.
The other difference I noticed was after the extraction by the dentist sometimes my mouth was sensitive when air got to the socket area. This lasted for a couple of weeks—but it didn't happen at all after the oral surgeon's procedure.
When I had my wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon under general anesthetic, I was able to not only open my mouth freely the next day, I was able to eat solid food. If anyone was to ask me, I would recommend getting it done by an oral surgeon, as it was a much easier experience. The problem is it does cost more.