9 Ways to Manage Pain After Wisdom Tooth Removal

9 Ways to Manage Pain After Wisdom Tooth Removal

An impacted wisdom tooth is common. These molars, usually emerging between the ages of 17 to 21, often lack the necessary space to fit properly, which may mean they need to be removed. Although this dental procedure is common throughout Canada, the subsequent discomfort and pain can pose challenges.

However, there’s no need to be overly concerned. Following your dentist’s recommendations and adding extra measures can make your recovery more comfortable. Here, we’ll discuss effective methods to help you heal swiftly after the extraction.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth So Problematic?

Wisdom teeth can lead to oral health problems

When wisdom teeth emerge during adulthood, most other teeth have already found their permanent positions. This often leaves insufficient space for these four newcomers, making a wisdom tooth extraction a frequent solution. If a wisdom tooth only emerges partway through the gum, it becomes a hotspot for trapped food. This partial emergence can challenge even the most diligent brushers, potentially leading to infections or tooth decay.

However, even if a wisdom tooth clears the gum line, it’s not free from complications. If these teeth grow at a peculiar angle, they might irritate the inside of the mouth or neighbouring gums. Furthermore, they could exert pressure on adjacent teeth.

Visiting a wisdom tooth extraction dentist regularly during adolescence and early adulthood allows for monitoring of the development of these molars.

9 Aftercare Tips for Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Always follow your dentist’s recommendations

As you navigate the recovery phase after a wisdom tooth extraction, one of the most common questions is, “How long does wisdom tooth pain last?” It may vary from person to person, but there are some ways to manage and alleviate wisdom tooth pain. Below are 11 practical tips to help promote a faster and smoother recovery:

1. Prevent the socket from drying

A smooth wisdom tooth extraction recovery hinges on preventing a dry socket, where the protective blood clot at the extraction site is dislodged, leading to intense pain, especially during the 2 to 3 days post-extraction. This complication arises in up to 30% of impacted wisdom tooth removals.

Post-surgery, your dentist will provide home-care instructions. Some of these key measures include:

  • Not soaking gauze pads before placing them on the extraction site
  • Avoiding aggressive rinsing and keeping the gauze in place until changing
  • Using resorbable sutures and light coconut oil pulling each evening for a week post-surgery
  • Consuming soft/liquid foods and prescribed antibiotics
  • Avoiding passionate kissing.

2. Take your pain medication

Another foundational step in your wisdom tooth extraction aftercare is ensuring you adhere to your dentist’s medication regimen. The key is proactive management, whether they’ve provided specific medications or recommended over-the-counter solutions like ibuprofen or aspirin. Instead of waiting for discomfort to manifest, start your medication beforehand. Preventing pain onset from the get-go is often more effective than attempting to alleviate it after it sets in.

3. Rinse with warm saltwater

A rinse with room-temperature saltwater has stood the test of time as an effective remedy for oral discomforts, including post-extraction pain from wisdom teeth. This ancient anti-inflammatory technique, harkening back to the times of the Egyptians and Greeks, plays a pivotal role in your recovery from a wisdom tooth extraction.

Saltwater not only acts as a gentle antibacterial agent, reducing the risk of infections and alleviating pain. It also helps in preserving your mouth’s pH balance. This creates an alkaline environment, deterring bacterial growth. It’s crucial to sidestep commercial mouthwashes post-surgery; their alcohol content can induce a stinging sensation on the extraction site and potentially dislodge the crucial blood clot, leading to complications.

To prepare the solution, blend two tablespoons of salt in a cup of warm water until dissolved. Gently swish the mixture in your mouth for about 12 seconds, not gargling or spitting with force, which might disturb the blood clot. Repeating this gentle rinse every few hours can provide sustained relief throughout recovery.

4. Massage your jaw

Wisdom tooth surgeries require the mouth to remain open for an extended period, potentially leading to myofascial pain, muscle cramps, or even temporary trismus, commonly called “lockjaw”. The masseter muscle, pivotal in the chewing process, is especially susceptible to this discomfort.

To alleviate the strain and hasten recovery:

  • Position your first 2 fingers just ahead of each ear’s opening.
  • Gently conduct circular motions with these fingers, focusing on massaging the area.
  • Avoid applying excessive pressure or over-massaging.

Jaw stiffness post-extraction usually diminishes notably by day 7 and typically resolves entirely around day 11 post-operation.

5. Opt for soft foods

Despite having a subdued appetite post-surgery, nutrition remains essential. Even if you delay it till the day after the procedure, ensure you eat. Mindful food choices can aid your healing process and directly address concerns like “what not to do for 24 hours after tooth extraction“. 

Opt for foods that minimize chewing to prevent disrupting blood clots and stitches. As you begin to feel hunger pangs, introduce soft foods to your diet. Here are some comforting and safe options:

  • Smooth soups and broths
  • Yogurt and pudding
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Mashed bananas and applesauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Smoothies

Remember, gentle dietary choices can significantly expedite healing and reduce the risk of post-operative complications.

6. Steer clear of smoking

Do not smoke after your wisdom teeth extraction. Not only does it hinder the healing process, but it’s also a prime culprit for disturbing the protective blood clots that form in your extraction socket. Engaging in smoking can potentially result in painful dry sockets. Moreover, this recovery period offers a prime opportunity: a chance to break free from the confines of smoking and embrace healthier habits.

7. Avoid strenuous activity

Diving straight back into your routine may be tempting after your surgery. However, it’s essential to tread cautiously when it comes to care after wisdom tooth extraction. While you can gradually reintroduce day-to-day activities as you feel comfortable, avoiding strenuous exercise or activities for at least a few days is advisable.

8. Recognize the signs of trouble

After a wisdom tooth procedure, it’s natural to anticipate swelling, pain, and bleeding. However, remain vigilant for any signs that might signal complications:

  • Unbearable pain that medication doesn’t alleviate
  • Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
  • Fever
  • Excessive swelling
  • Numbness
  • Discharge of blood or pus from the nose
  • Persistent bleeding

Typically, patients feel a significant improvement by the third day post-surgery, with pain and bleeding subsiding entirely within a week. If your recovery doesn’t align with this trajectory, or you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s imperative to contact the office of your Sarnia dentist.

9. Prioritize rest

Your body’s natural healing process greatly benefits from adequate rest. In the aftermath of a wisdom tooth procedure, minimizing physical exertion for at least 36 hours is essential to alleviate any associated discomfort.

We suggest setting aside at least two days from professional commitments to support your recovery. Giving the extraction area a brief respite is especially important if your job involves rigorous demands or extensive verbal communication.

The days after a wisdom tooth extraction can be challenging, but with the proper care, discomfort can be minimized, and recovery can be swift. By adhering to the guidelines and tips outlined in this article, you’re equipping yourself with the knowledge to ensure a smooth post-extraction journey. Remember, your well-being is paramount, and taking the necessary steps during recovery can pave the way for optimal oral health.

Do you want a seamless wisdom tooth extraction experience from trusted professionals? Contact our Sarnia office today to schedule a consultation for wisdom tooth extraction in Sarnia and benefit from expert dental care tailored to your needs. Call Lambton Family Dental at 519-344-5747 or email your concerns via [email protected].