Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last adult teeth to erupt in the mouth. They are typically between the ages of 17 and 21. Many people do not have enough space for wisdom teeth, so they must be extracted.
Following your surgeon’s instructions is critical to expedite wisdom tooth recovery.
It is normal to experience some pain, swelling, and discomfort following your wisdom teeth extraction. Try these tips for quick healing:
1. Prevent dry socket
The most important thing you can do to hasten wisdom tooth recovery is to avoid a dry socket.
When the blood clot that forms over your extraction site is dislodged, it causes a dry socket. It occurs after up to 25%-30% of impacted wisdom teeth are removed.
Loss of this blood clot can cause excruciating pain by exposing the underlying bone. It is most common in the days following tooth extractions.
Your dentist or oral/maxillofacial surgeon should give you a list of post-surgery instructions.
A dry socket can increase your risk of infection, so it’s critical to keep in touch with your dentist if this occurs. Infections after surgery can occur several weeks later.
2. Keep your head elevated for the first 3 days
When sleeping, elevate your head with pillows so that your upper body is at a 45-degree angle.
This can help you recover faster from wisdom tooth surgery because lying flat increases blood vessel tone and blood volume near the wound, which can cause the wound to throb.
When you’re standing up, using a travel pillow is a simple and effective way to keep your head comfortably elevated.
3. Ice your cheek(s) for the first 36 hours
Even before you see outward signs of swelling, cold compresses can help reduce swelling and inflammation. In addition, you can reduce pain and swelling for the rest of your recovery time by icing consistently for the first day and a half.
You can also buy a head wrap ice pack to ice your jaw without using your hands. These are especially beneficial if you have extractions on both sides of your mouth.
But be careful: Wait to apply heat to this area until around day 3. Heat can increase blood flow to the area, which, as previously stated, causes pain and swelling.
4. Rinse with warm salt water
To keep your wound clean, rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times daily.
For the best results, I recommend super-saturated salt water rinses. This may even help reduce gum inflammation while also keeping your surgical site free of debris and bacteria buildup.
5. Reduce inflammation
Controlling inflammation after a wisdom tooth extraction is essential for pain management. Because inflammation is at its peak after 48 hours, it is critical to continue taking anti-inflammatories even if you feel fine immediately after the extraction.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used concurrently because they both work on inflammation via different pathways.
6. Don’t let your mouth dry out
Your mouth will most likely be sore after wisdom tooth extraction. You may be tempted to breathe through your mouth depending on how tender you are. However, avoid it if possible because it can cause dry mouth.
Dryness can disrupt your mouth’s pH balance, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to proliferate and increasing your risk of infection.
7. Massage your jaw
During wisdom tooth surgery, your mouth is held wide open for an extended period of time, which can contribute to myofascial pain and cramped or sore muscles. This is a condition called temporary trismus or “lockjaw”.
The masseter, one of the muscles in your jaw that helps you chew, is particularly prone to soreness.
8. Try photobiomodulation
Photobiomodulation may greatly reduce pain, swelling, and trismus (jaw pain) after wisdom tooth surgery. Your dentist/surgeon needs to use this light therapy right after your teeth are extracted for it to be effective.
There is some evidence that using light therapy on the outside of the jaw, rather than the inside, might help reduce trismus even more.
This technique is also known as red light therapy, near-infrared therapy, or low light laser therapy (LLLT).
9. Drink coconut water
Coconut water can hydrate and nourish your body and soothe inflammation of your gums as they heal from surgery.
Coconut water helps to keep blood sugar stable and replenish electrolytes while you cannot eat solid foods. Having these elements in balance allows your body to focus more of its attention on healing from wisdom teeth surgery.