Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure, and most patients recover from it quickly. Nevertheless, it is important for you to know about the possible preventable surgical complications, such as dry socket, and the appropriate ways to correct them. A dry socket is the result of a newly formed blood clot inside the socket that exposes the nerves and bone after it becomes dissolved or dislodged. Symptoms of dry socket include severe pain, bad breath and exposed bone inside the socket, low-grade fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area.
To prevent possible problems post removal of wisdom teeth, here are a few healing instructions that you need to keep in mind:
After the removal, apply packs of ice to the affected area for 20 minutes. Continue this for about two to three days to reduce swelling, discomfort or bruising. In case of an infected tooth before the removal, you may be advised by your dentist to apply warm, damp compresses instead of ice.
Avoid eating, taking and drinking for the first couple of hours after the surgery, and delay your meals until later. Do not rinse vigorously as this may dislodge the blood clot. Use a straw instead. In addition to that, do not exercise rigorously for a week or so, as well as spitting excessively or smoking on the day of the surgery or until the bleeding continues. After 12 hours, you can rinse gently with salt water or a dentist-recommended mouthwash, but try to avoid the surgical areas as best as you can.
Once the bleeding stops, increase your intake of cold or lukewarm fluids to keep your mouth and body hydrated. Begin with clear liquids then move on to soft foods like eggs, gelatins, cooked cereals and puddings.
You should also consult your dentist about the best post wisdom tooth extraction care. In case of continued discomfort, see your dentist immediately.