Wisdom teeth are commonly removed for different reasons. Whether they are removed due to being impacted, decayed, insufficient spacing or infection, the management of pain after removal is very important. Pain after wisdom tooth removal for everyone will be experienced differently depending on the individual’s tolerance to pain and the level of difficulty of their removal.
Whilst nobody expects a completely painless recovery, there are ways to manage it until the discomfort resolves.
So, what else may you expect after the removal of wisdom teeth? Swelling of the face and bruising around the removal sites are relatively common effects. Additionally, there can be difficulties and pain when opening your mouth, speaking, and eating.
What can you do at home to help prevent pain after wisdom tooth removal?
Eating soft foods like soups, yogurts, and custards after having wisdom teeth removed is always a good place to start. If ever there was an excuse to eat more ice cream, then this is it! Chewing hard and crunchy foods can be uncomfortable so try to avoid these. Avoid rice and pasta as they can get stuck in the area where the tooth was removed unless you are particularly careful to focus your chewing at the front of the mouth. It is important to keep the wound clear of food and to keep brushing your teeth. Applying a cold pack to the face and not doing any mouth rinses for 24 hours afterwards helps to reduce swelling and minimises the chance of dislodging the blood clot. Your dentist will give you more specific advice about pain killing medication as it applies to your individual circumstances.
Smoking can significantly slow down the healing process and will increase your risk of getting a dry socket or an infection. It is important to follow recommendations advised by your dentist regarding how long you should wait after extraction to start smoking to reduce the risks of healing issues.
Other issues you may need to discuss with your dental practitioner
A dry socket is inflammation of the bone at an area where a tooth has been removed. It occurs when the blood clot is lost. A blood clot forms at the site of an extraction area, and it is important in the healing progress.
Dry socket can develop around 3 to 4 days after wisdom teeth removal. Pain can be a very uncomfortable feeling, like an aching or throbbing sensation at the area and can extend further to around the ear. The area can be quite tender to touch, and you may experience bad breath. If you are experiencing these signs it is recommended to see your Dentist, however by following the directions given to you by your Dentist this can usually be avoided.
Dry socket can be treated and managed by your dental practitioner, and in most cases, this is done without the need for antibiotics.
What can increase your risk of a dry socket?
Some medical conditions and medications can also affect your risk. Your dentist will be able to discuss with you what factors may affect your risk, but there are things you can do at home after the tooth removal to reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
Ways to prevent dry socket include, not drinking through straws until the area has healed so the blood clot is not removed too early. Do not do mouth rinses within 12- 24 hours or vigorously swish water around the mouth. This is to assist in the prevention of dislodging the blood clot.
Despite the challenges following wisdom teeth removal, your dentist can offer advice if the benefits outweigh the risks. Having said that, not all people have wisdom teeth that cause issues, and many come through into the mouth fully and are able to be cleaned and maintained.
What about infection?
Infection after removal of a wisdom tooth, or any tooth is relatively uncommon if you follow the steps including avoiding getting food in the wounds and rinsing with salt water regularly 12-24 hours after. Signs of infection can include swelling, the presence of pus, an increase in pain and a feeling of heat coming from the area. It is important to see your dentist in order to get the most appropriate treatment which may include flushing the wound and providing antibiotics.