If your dentist has advised extraction of wisdom tooth, then don’t panic. When the third molar begins to affect oral health negatively, it is best to eliminate the tooth. Let us understand the potential problems that a patient can face after wisdom tooth extraction like pain, swelling, bleeding, etc.

Also, we will discuss aftercare tips post wisdom teeth removal for faster healing and recovery. Some of the effective home remedies are salt water rinse, ice pack, usage of tea bags or guava leaves as mouthwash, etc.

All these remedies will help you sail through the process.

When is wisdom teeth problem?

Every adult has three molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. The last molar which is the third one is known as the wisdom tooth. They erupt around the ages of 17 and 25.

People who do not have enough space for the wisdom tooth to erupt may notice one or more of the following symptoms –

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling (at times)
  • Infection (if food accumulates in the gum pocket near the third molar then there are chances of infection)
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth (It is transient. Due to swelling infection and pain patient is unable to open mouth properly)
  • Cysts and tumors (in rare cases)

Above symptoms are signs of impacted wisdom teeth. Most of the time, the only solution is the extraction of wisdom teeth.

If you delay extraction of your wisdom tooth fearing the pain after removal, then you are not doing yourself any favor. Rather you are complicating the situation.

Aftercare healing tips post wisdom teeth extraction

A few home remedies that will make the healing process more comfortable are –

Salt water rinse

Salt water rinse is an effective way to get relief from wisdom tooth pain but don’t spit too much since that can cause harm to the extraction site. Rinse your mouth gently using salt water. (1)

Tea bags

Tannic acid in tea has anti-inflammatory properties. Brew a cup of tea and keep it in the refrigerator with the tea bag in it. Take out the cold tea bag and apply it in the gum area. Tannic acid will help reduce swelling and give relief from pain.

Ice packs

Post extraction, apply ice outside the mouth in the region wherever is the swelling. It will help in the reduction of the inflammation and give you some relief from swelling.

Guava leaves

Guava leaves have antibacterial and disinfecting qualities. You can take 5-7 guava leaves and boil them for 5- 7 minutes. Use this as a mouth rinse when t cools down. Also, this will help you avoid using alcohol-based mouth rinse. (2)

Use home remedies in conjunction with the dentist’s instruction. Also before trying out a particular home- remedy (for example the guava mouth rinse) confirm once with your dentist if it will be the right thing to do.

Follow instructions post wisdom teeth extraction

Post wisdom tooth extraction, dry socket can develop. It is a condition which forms if the blood clot gets dislodged, leaving bone and nerves exposed.

Usually, dry socket occurs after three to four days and causes severe pain, bad breath, metallic taste in mouth, visible bone, low-grade fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

To prevent dry socket and other potential problems you should follow these instructions –

Bleeding

Bite on the gauze pad for 30 minutes after extraction. If you see some bleeding even after that, then you can bite down on a tea bag. Tea contains tannic acid which constricts the bleeding vessels and helps set the blood clot.

Don’t spit for at least 24 hours. Swallow the saliva for the next 24 hours. Spitting can hinder blood clot formation.

Pain

Since the dentist performs the surgery under anesthesia, you will feel numb in the region after the extraction of wisdom tooth but as the effect of anesthesia wears off you will feel pain. The painkillers prescribed to you will help deal with the pain.

Swelling

After wisdom tooth extraction, there will be mild to moderate swelling in the region. Apply an ice pack to the outside of your mouth intermittently (20mins at a stretch with a break of 20 mins).

Do this for two days to reduce swelling. In case there was an infection in your tooth, then your dentist may advise warm, moist compress. (3)

Oral care regime

Rinse your mouth after 24 hours very gently and while brushing avoid the extraction site. Avoid any alcohol-based mouth rinse as best as you can. You may rinse your mouth using salt water. No smoking till the extraction heals completely.

Diet

For the first two hours after surgery try not to eat, drink or talk. Rest for the whole day and consume only cold food items and liquids.

Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated but avoid using a straw for the same.  Do not drink tea, coffee, carbonated beverages or consume alcohol.

Eat regular meals which include clear liquids and soft food like porridge, puddings, mashed potatoes, eggs, etc. Vegetable, fruits, and meats liquefied in a blender are some good food choices.

Avoid eating foods like popcorn and peanuts as they might leave food particles in the socket.

Medications

Your dentist will prescribe painkillers and antibiotics. Painkillers to help you deal with the pain and antibiotics will take care of the infection.

Since the dentist will anesthetize the third molar region during surgery, you may consider taking someone along with you to help you drive back home (at times due to the pain and the effect of anesthesia patient can be less alert). (4)

When should you call your dentist

If you follow all the instructions, you will do fine, but in case you see any of the following symptoms call your dentist –

  • Excessive bleeding which doesn’t subside with pressure
  • Swelling worsens instead of getting better
  • Throbbing pain even after three to four days of surgery even after taking painkillers
  • Persistent fever

Over to you

Wisdom tooth extraction is not a procedure that you need to be scared. Instead, make sure you get that tooth removed before it causes harm to other teeth in the mouth. If you follow instructions and aftercare tips, then you would be alright. (5)

Aftercare tips post wisdom teeth removal for faster healing and recovery are salt water rinse, ice pack, usage of tea bags as mouthwash, etc.