You're ready to get your wisdom teeth out, but nervous about the pain afterward. We hear this quite often. It is a surgical procedure, and involves some cutting and pushing and pulling, but don't let the fear of pain afterward keep you from having them removed. Removing them will prevent physical pain and monetary pain later! We've put together the best ways to keep post-op pain at bay here.
Pain after wisdom tooth removal is, unfortunately, to be expected. However, your pain level is dependent on several factors. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain, so you may feel like the pain wasn't that bad while your friend thinks it was pretty uncomfortable. The size of the wisdom teeth and their roots will be a factor in how much pain you experience afterward as well. The smaller the teeth and roots are, the easier it is to remove them. This means the surgery will be less invasive, thus less disturbed tissue. The roots of a wisdom tooth are typically 1/3 to 2/3 formed between the ages of 14 and 18, which is why we preach to get them out early! Another huge factor in post-op pain is how well you follow the aftercare instructions. Follow them closely, and you should have smooth sailing. We makesure to go over aftercare with you before your surgery so you are completely prepared.
One of the best things you can do after surgery is rest, rest, REST! Your body has just been through something it's not used to and needs time to recover and heal. It's best to take about three full days to relax on the couch and recover after these complex extractions. Prop yourself up on a couple pillows and put on some Netflix — you have a free pass to do nothing for the next few days!
Keeping the sockets (holes where your teeth used to be) clean is imperative to preventing too
much post-op pain as well. If the sockets start to collect food particles, pressure can build which is
very uncomfortable. If the food is left in the sockets too long, it can attract bacteria and cause
infection which will prolong the healing process and cause more pain. We recommend rinsing
your mouth with salt water 10 to 15 times a day. Get about a cup of really warm water with about
a teaspoon of salt dissolved into it; pour it into your mouth and tilt your head side to side so it gets
in all the sockets; then just let it fall out of your mouth into the sink. No forceful swishing, spitting
or using a straw; this is to prevent the blood clot from becoming dislodged. On day five you can
start using the syringe we send home with you to clean more thoroughly with salt water. Just place
the curved tip right above the socket and flush out any food particles.
Sticking to a liquid/soft foods diet and not doing any real chewing will help reduce swelling and
fatigue. Avoid anything with little bits and pieces that can get stuck in the sockets. Stock up on
smoothies, pudding, yogurt... anything soft and creamy. (Check our blog for a post with some good
Staying on ahead of the pain is very important. We use a long-acting local anesthetic, so you'll be
numb for a few hours after the surgery and you'll have some pain killers and an anti-inflammatory on
board from the sedation. This will allow your escort plenty of time to pick up your prescriptions. We
will prescribe you four medications: Norco for pain; Ibuprofen for swelling; Amoxicillin to prevent
infection; and Phenergen in case you feel nauseous. You will alternate the Norco and Ibuprofen,
every three hours. As soon as you are able, lie down, get something to eat and take your first Norco;
three hours after that, take an Ibuprofen; three hours after that, another Norco etc. So there are six
hours between two Norcos; six hours between Ibuprofen; and three hours between a Norco and an
Ibuprofen. Some find it helpful to write a schedule out for meds.
Hot and cold compresses will help with bruising and swelling. Start your cold compresses as soon as
you get home. You can use frozen peas (or corn, if you so choose) or ice packs. Hold them against
your cheeks — 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 48 to 72 hours. On the third to fifth days,
you'll do the same thing, but with heat. You can buy hot packs from the pharmacy or just pop a damp
rag in the microwave for a few minutes.
Dry Socket is the really painful thing you may have heard about after wisdom tooth removal. This is
when the socket becomes dislodged and bone and nerve are exposed. However, if you avoid straws,
smoking and forceful motions a dry socket will probably not be in your future!
As long as you follow the post-op instructions to a T, you shouldn't experience anything too crazy.
Partially formed roots — 16 years old.
Curved-tip syringe for cleaning.
Frozen peas, your BFF for
the next few days!
Fully formed roots — 41 years old.
Smoothies and shakes are great post-op foods.
Pain After Wisdom Teeth Extractions — What to Expect 12/28/2016
730 Sunrise Ave.
Roseville, CA 95662