Postoperative Care Following Oral Surgery For Wisdom Tooth Removal

While some people never develop oral problems from keeping their wisdom teeth, others can experience chronic issues such as severe oral pain, headaches, persistent oral infections, and chewing problems. Oral pain and headaches can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers; however, over time, your pain may become unbearable and unresponsive to over-the-counter medications. If you experience pain, chronic infections, or problems chewing because of your wisdom teeth, oral surgery may be your best option. Here are some things about your postoperative care that you should know about.

Preserving The Blood Clot

After your tooth extraction, a protective blood clot will form over the empty space. It is essential that this clot not become dislodged because if it does, you may experience heavy bleeding and develop a condition called "dry socket," which can be extremely painful. To help prevent dry socket, avoid drinking liquids through a straw, drinking from a water bottle, and smoking. These activities can create a suction inside your mouth which can easily dislodge the clot.

Your dentist may recommend salt water rinses following your oral surgery because they can help soothe the affected area and lower the risk for postoperative infection. When rinsing your mouth, do so very gently and do not vigorously swish the salt water around your mouth.

Reporting Unusual Symptoms

While mild bleeding and discomfort are normal following oral surgery, there are some things that may warrant a call to your dentist. These include excessive bleeding that cannot be managed by the application of pressure with a piece of gauze and excruciating pain. You should expect some discomfort following your wisdom tooth removal; however, it should decrease with each passing day.

If a stitch becomes dislodged or falls out, do not become alarmed. If you find the stitch, simply throw it away. While losing a stitch is usually nothing to become alarmed about, you should still call your dentist and let them know. Also, mild jaw stiffness is also normal following oral surgery. This should subside in a few days; however, if the stiffness worsens or if you are unable to speak or open your mouth, call your dentist or seek emergency medical attention. 

If you have scheduled a tooth extraction, talk to your oral surgeon in depth about what you can expect while you recover. The postoperative recovery period is typically non-eventful for most people; however, to make sure that you have a smooth recovery, follow your dentist's instructions and call the office if you have any questions or concerns.

Contact your dentist for more information about wisdom teeth removal