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About nine out of ten people will need to have at least one back molar, or “wisdom tooth,” removed. For many, it may be the most significant dental surgery they will ever undergo. Reflecting its holistic approach to the dental arts, our team at Pasadena Smile Center wants you to know what to expect and and how to have a smooth recovery after wisdom teeth are extracted.

What to Expect During Recovery

This is a routine procedure, and complications are rare. You should not expect severe discomfort, but it will take a few days to recover. The number of wisdom teeth that were extracted can also be a factor in your post-surgery experience.

  • Anesthetic – Extracting wisdom teeth requires the use of anesthetic. Prior to your surgery, your dentist will advise you about this aspect of your treatment and can the minor, short-term effects of anesthetic.
  • Pain - As the anesthetic wears off, you can expect to feel more pain at the extraction site and will be prescribed pain medication, so you can stay comfortable in the early stages.
  • Bleeding – Some bleeding is normal. You will have gauze packs placed on the area of where the teeth were removed, and for the first hour your advised to bite down on them firmly to help stop or prevent bleeding. You can replace the gauze every 30 or 45 minutes as the bleeding subsides. Our dentist will provide you with full instructions.
  • Swelling - In addition to some pain, you will experience swelling, which varies person to person. These are both routine effects from the surgery. You can place a cold pack, a bag of frozen peas on the outside of your cheek to help with the swelling. During the first day, if needed these can be applied for twenty minutes at a time, followed by twenty minutes of rest.
  • Nausea – A few rare patients experience some nausea. This is a short-term effect and quickly subsides if it should occur.

What Can I Eat While I’m Recovering?

You will need to pay attention to what you eat after wisdom teeth have been extracted. The guidelines are simple, and you have plenty of options that will appeal to you. It’s important to keep your mouth wet, so staying hydrated is important.

These are some things you should not avoid for one week:

  • Crunchy foods.
  • Foods with small particles that could lodge in the tooth socket (e.g. rice, popcorn) and possibly lead to problems.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Chewy foods.

Fortunately, the list of things that are perfectly fine to eat is much larger, for example:

  • Soups – The warning about crunchy, chewy and tiny bits of food does apply here. Broth, blended soups or soups that do not contain large chunks of meat or vegetables are good. Soup should be served warm rather than hot.
  • Ice cream – What’s better than a medical recommendation to eat ice cream? Flavors that contain hard or crunchy pieces of candy, nuts, etc. must be avoided, as should any sort of cone.
  • Applesauce – A refreshing way to receive valuable nutrients and fiber.
  • Pudding or Jell-O – An increasing number of products are available in this category that have no sugar or reduced sugar content.
  • Smoothies – There are infinite options here, encompassing fruits, vegetables, a variety of protein powders and more. Avoid adding fruits with small seeds, such as raspberries or blackberries. One important note: Do not use a straw! Sucking through a straw can cause a healing clot to be pulled off the tooth socket.
  • Oatmeal – Another great source of fiber, though one you should save until the third day or so after your surgery.
  • Mashed potatoes – filling and tasty, mashed potatoes are an excellent option.
  • Yogurt – A food with many health benefits, yogurt can also help calm your stomach, particularly if you are taking medications or supplements.

A Few Other Do’s and Don’ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Some do’s:

  • Keep your mouth clean but be very gentle around the area(s) of the surgery.
  • If bleeding is minor, you can rinse with saltwater. (One teaspoon in an eight-ounce glass of water.
  • Rest on the couch or in bed for the first day.

Some don’ts:

  • Don’t exercise until three to four days have passed.
  • Don’t force your mouth open.
  • Don’t smoke, as it can cause the tooth socket to become dry.

If you would like to learn more, contact us today and schedule a consultation with one of the best dentist Pasadena has to offer.

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