If you’ve recently had your wisdom teeth removed or are scheduled to undergo wisdom teeth removal, you probably have a lot of questions. We’re going to assume that at the top of that list are “how long does it take to heal?” and “how do I brush my teeth?”
In order to promote proper healing, you shouldn’t brush your teeth after wisdom tooth extraction as much as you’d like to. We know you want your mouth to feel nice and clean, especially after all that bleeding, but you need to wait for a reason. This will, in turn, help speed up the healing process as well.
Why You Need To Undergo Wisdom Teeth Removal
Many patients dread undergoing wisdom teeth removal when they’re older (typically between the ages of 16-20), but it’s a necessary procedure that can help relieve pain and prevent oral issues like overcrowding and impaction. The reason your dentist or maxillofacial surgeon will remove your wisdom teeth when you’re a teenager is that the roots of your teeth are still developing and, therefore, easier to remove.
However, not everyone develops all four wisdom teeth at a young age or experiences any issues until they’re older. The wisdom teeth removal process can be lengthier and more difficult as you age, but again, if they’re causing you problems, you need to have them removed.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
This occurs when the wisdom tooth gets stuck below the surface of your gums because there isn’t enough room for them to emerge. This can cause pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and infection. Symptoms aren’t always present so it’s best to have your dentist regularly update your x-rays to determine the best time to undergo wisdom teeth removal.
How To Take Care of Your Teeth After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Following the wisdom teeth removal procedure, you’ll be given a few important rules to follow that will both assist with the healing process and ensure your oral health is never compromised.
Tip # 1: Use gauze pads to stop the bleeding
Immediately following wisdom tooth removal, you’ll need to gently bite down on gauze pads to control the bleeding, but also to ensure the blood clot stays intact. You’ll need to change the gauze every 30-40 minutes for the next couple of hours until the active bleeding has stopped.
Tip # 2: Place ice packs on the sides of your face
Ice packs can help reduce swelling, bruising and pain around your cheeks and jaw. Apply an ice pack to the side of the surgical site for 15-20 minutes at a time and continue to do so for the next couple of days.
Tip # 3: Rinse with warm salt water
Because you can’t brush your teeth after wisdom teeth removal, you’ll need to rinse gently with warm salt water, but do this beginning the day after the tooth extraction procedure. Repeat this a few times a day, especially after eating. Avoid spitting roughly as this can dislodge the blood clot.
Tip # 4: Stick to soft foods
Since your mouth will feel sore for a few days, you’ll want to eat soft foods such as applesauce, mashed potatoes, pudding, yogurt, broth or soup that isn’t too hot, etc. Avoid chewy foods and hot drinks within the first 24 hours and never use a straw as this can also dislodge blood clots and cause dry socket.
Tip # 5: Take pain medication as directed
Your dentist may prescribe painkillers and antibiotics that you can take as directed to control pain, discomfort and prevent infection. Take them for as long as you’ve been told – you don’t want to stop taking them too soon or take too many of them.
When To Officially Brush Your Teeth After Wisdom Teeth Removal
You should wait for 72 hours (3 days) before you officially start brushing your teeth. Don’t jump straight into using your electric toothbrush either. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush your teeth in slow, circular motions, making sure not to get too close to the extraction sites since they’re still healing. After brushing, floss your teeth but don’t rinse with regular mouthwash yet. Continue rinsing with warm water and salt but remember to let it slowly drain from your mouth – don’t spit!
Follow Your Dental Team's Recommendations
Following wisdom teeth removal, or any tooth extraction procedure for that matter, make sure to follow the instructions laid out by your dental team. They know what is best for their patients and how to help you heal in the best and fastest way possible so you can get back to normal.
If you have any questions about your upcoming wisdom teeth removal procedure, give our Century Stone Dental team a call today and we’d be happy to help answer any questions and ease your worries before your procedure!