If your dentist has determined that your wisdom teeth should be extracted, you will undergo a common surgical procedure. The surgery will be performed by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon, dental surgeon, or orthodontist. The risks and recovery time may vary depending on whether or not the wisdom teeth are being pulled one at a time, or altogether.
You may be a candidate for sedation dentistry if there is more than one tooth being extracted. A general anesthetic will be administered which will prevent you from feeling any pain and in essence put you to sleep for the duration of the surgery.
Recovering from a sedation dentistry procedure, particularly wisdom teeth surgery, happens in stages and requires significant care and rest for proper healing.
Throughout this time, be mindful of excessive bleeding, severe discomfort and signs of infection and consult your doctor or dentist right away if any of the above occur. In some cases nausea and vomiting may be experienced from the effects of swallowed blood, or pain medication.
First day of Recovery (Immediately Following Surgery)
The extraction areas will be packed with gauze. For the first day following the procedure, bite down firmly on the gauze, ensuring they remain in place. Take care not to disturb the area by rinsing, spitting, or removing the gauze too often. It should remain in place for the first hour, switching out as needed after that (typically every 30-45 minutes).
Brush teeth gently and carefully, avoiding the afflicted area.
Avoid smoking if possible as it inhibits the healing process.
Take it easy. Avoid strenuous activity and exercise for 3-4 days after your wisdom teeth extraction as it can increase bleeding, swelling and won’t mix well with any pain medication your dentist may prescribe. The best thing to do is rest on the couch or in bed, propping your head to a slightly elevated position in order to reduce bleeding.
Eat – cautiously. Do eat healthy, easy to eat foods that don’t require a lot of chewing, heat, nuts and seeds, or anything that requires the use of a straw. While on the subject, do not use a straw during the healing process. The sucking motion can loosen blood clots, delaying healing and causing discomfort.
Use an ice pack to ease pain and swelling. For the first 24 hours following sedation dentistry apply the ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
The Next Few Days (3-4 Days Following Surgery)
Keep your mouth clean by doing regular rinses of ¼ tsp of salt, mixed with 8 ounces of warm water. Do this at least 2-3 times daily.
Switch from an ice pack to moist heat such as a cloth soaked in warm water or a mild heating pack.
Over the next couple of days you should be experiencing gradual, steady improvement in how you feel. However, you may continue to experience swelling, bruising, dry lips, sore throat, and stiff jaw muscles. These are all normal effects.
Continue to rest as you heal from this sedation dentistry procedure, avoiding exercise and strenuous movements and you’ll be back to your normal routine in no time.