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When you decide to have oral surgery, researching the dos and don’ts of the recovery period is just as important as knowing what rules to follow beforehand. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide of five helpful practices that will make your post-surgical period a breeze.

At Grace Dental Group, the needs of our patients always come first. As such, our provider, Woo Young Lee, DDS, offers safe and effective surgical procedures for wisdom teeth removal as well as focused and transparent processes for aftercare you can do at home.

What to expect during oral surgery recovery

Yes, some people don’t have wisdom teeth, while others may choose to keep them around if they do grow in. But around five million people have their wisdom teeth removed every year because impacted wisdom teeth can cause a host of oral and dental problems, not to mention discomfort and pain.

If you choose to have your wisdom teeth removed, know first that it is a very common surgical procedure that is performed often and easily in this day and age. When you have your wisdom teeth removed, all you have to do is show up and have someone drive you home.

However, the post-surgical period is critical to achieve quick and effective healing. That’s why we’ve put together this list of essential practices you will want to do at home while recovering from wisdom tooth surgery.

1. Avoid dislodging blood clots

After oral surgery, blood clots form where the wisdom teeth used to be. These clots will help you heal, so you want to do all you can to avoid dislodging them. This includes avoiding

  • Hot drinks
  • Brushing near the extraction site
  • Drinking through a straw
  • Smoking

2. Use gauze, rinses, and ice

Taking care of your mouth is vital after oral surgery. Biting down gently on a gauze pad after surgery is usually something we’ll talk to you about in the office. You may want to do this later on if you’re bleeding a little.

Also, using ice packs or cold compresses against the cheek will help minimize swelling and pain. Remember to follow the rule of 15 minutes on and at least 15 minutes off to avoid causing any damage to the tissues.

Finally, make sure to rinse your mouth with tepid water the day of your surgery. If you choose to use it, saltwater is much better than mouthwashes, which could be too harsh for the healing extraction site. This should also be done after every meal.

3. Stick to soft foods

Hard or chewy foods are a big no-no after oral surgery. They can get lodged in the extraction site, cause clots to dislodge, and create many more problems. As such, you’re going to want to stick to soft foods for the next few days. Good choices are

  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed avocado or banana
  • Broth or blended soup
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Applesauce

After a few days, you can graduate to scrambled eggs, noodle soups, and salmon or tuna. Do not eat anything spicy or crunchy for the first week, and stick to mild, soft foods for at least the first three days.

4. Take your meds

In most cases, you’ll be given some medication to help with pain and swelling. These medications are usually on a strict schedule that needs to be followed to the letter. It can help to ask someone else to be in charge of making sure you take your medication on time, at least for the first day, as you’ll be a little out of it.

5. Rest, rest, rest

Though wisdom teeth get taken out all the time, this is still surgery, and your body will need time to heal. It can also be painful to recover from wisdom teeth surgery, so you won’t be up to your full potential right away. You should take at least a few days off of work to recover, and you could require as much as a week with up to two weeks to feel fully recovered. Use this as an opportunity to catch up on your binge-watching, park it on the couch, and relax.

Ready to go?

If it’s time to get your wisdom teeth removed, make sure you’re just as comfortable with the procedure for post-surgery as you do with everything else, and you’ll feel back to normal in no time. If you need to make an appointment to have your wisdom teeth removed, call (415) 921-8867 or book online to visit our San Francisco, CA office.

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