I had my wisdom teeth extracted last week — the day before Thanksgiving. While choosing to have my wisdom teeth out at a time just before one expects to be eating might not have been the best of options, it’s what worked for me: A reduced schedule, and some time to recover. Plus, my oral surgeon said it wasn’t such a bad time to have them out since many Thanksgiving foods like mashed potatoes are ideal for someone recovering from wisdom teeth extraction. But that doesn’t mean it was pleasant.
What to Do After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Everyone reacts differently to having their wisdom teeth out, and in some cases it depends on how many you have had out, as well as whether or not your teeth were impacted. I had all four of mine out, and three of them were impacted, so there was a fair amount of trauma happening in my mouth area. I had to be completely put under, so when I came home I slept for a while. Here are some of the recommendations my oral surgeon had for recovery from the surgery:
- Do not lie flat. Instead, lay propped up by pillows. This will help you avoid prolonged bleeding.
- Get plenty of rest. No exertion for a couple of days. Some people, who have had a relatively easy extraction, may not need as much rest as others.
- Use an ice pack to help reduce swelling.
- Take medications (for nausea, pain, infection, etc.) as directed. My medications made me even more tired when I took them, but I persisted.
Diet After Wisdom Teeth Extraction
As you probably know, it is important to eat a soft food diet after having your wisdom teeth out. My oral surgeon was quite adamant that remembering to eat a good diet was an important part of recovery from the wisdom teeth surgery. This is because good nutrition helps you build strength faster. It is important to avoid using a straw, and to avoid sucking motions, when possible. This is one of the biggest reasons that people end up with dry socket: The sucking motions associated with a straw often end up pulling out the blood clots that help with healing.
In order to help me with a balanced diet, my oral surgeon provided me with a helpful list of foods that I can eat while recovering from having my wisdom teeth out:
- Soft eggs.
- Milk drinks and soft dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese.
- Very soft bread.
- Mashed potatoes.
- Cooked pasta.
- Soft fruits, like mashed banana and applesauce.
- Vegetable juices, as well as cooked, soft vegetables (steamed to mushiness).
- Creamed soups without chunks of meat.
- Ice cream, pudding and gelatin.
As you can see, a balanced diet is represented by the range of foods suggested to me. Even dessert is accounted for!
Of course, you want to make sure that you are taking good care of your oral health throughout. You can’t really rinse or brush your teeth within 24 hours of having your wisdom teeth out. However, after 24 hours, you can use a warm salt rinse (1/2 tsp. salt to 8 oz water) to help keep your pockets free of debris. You can also very carefully brush your teeth and tongue. But do so with extreme caution, avoiding the areas where your wisdom teeth used to be.
You can speed your recovery by following directions from your dentist or oral surgeon, helping to reduce pain and speed your healing.