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When you have had your wisdom teeth removed, it’s important to understand the best ways to heal comfortably and quickly. Once the teeth are removed, healing begins when a blood clot forms over the area. When this is displaced, a condition called dry socket may result, which can be painful. To prevent this from happening and for pain relief, it’s important to follow these care tips. By following these few simple tips, you can avoid dry socket and reduce pain significantly.
Take Your Pain Medication
Once you are home, it’s important to take your pain medication. If your dentist has given you a prescription, follow those instructions. If your doctor has advised you to take over the counter medication, like ibuprofen or aspirin, take it before you feel pain. Don’t wait for the pain to set in, it’s easier to prevent it than make it subside.
Take Care of the Dressings
When you leave the office, you will have a dressing, usually a gauze pad, covering the area. It may be bloody, but don’t panic, that’s normal. Any bleeding you may suspect is abnormal, call your dentist right away. Change the dressing as instructed; this is an important part of preventing dry socket.
Cleaning Your Mouth
Take care to avoid displacing the blood clot when brushing your teeth near the extraction site for three to four days as you heal. Carefully dab at that area with a clean and moist gauze pad. You could also use mouthwash if you prefer not to use a toothbrush the first few days. A chlorhexidine mouthwash is a good alternative to a toothbrush.
Reduce the Swelling
You may experience swelling. Apply ice packs for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off to help reduce swelling. Consider aspirin or ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory to help reduce swelling as well. Be sure to keep your head elevated until bedtime.
Here are additional “don’t” tips to avoid dry socket and promote healing:
- Don’t rinse the area for 24 hours after tooth removal.
- Don’t poke at the extraction site with your tongue.
- Avoid sucking through straws, spitting, and blowing your nose.
- Don’t smoke, it can interfere with healing; the sucking motion could dislodge the blood clot.