Getting your wisdom teeth removed has become somewhat of a right of passage for most teenagers, and it’s one of the most common dental surgeries performed. Most children’s wisdom teeth come through between the ages of 17 and 25, while some never have their wisdom teeth come through at all.
If you’re preparing your young teen mentally and physically to have their wisdom teeth removed, be sure to add these healing hacks to your list of must-dos to help them have a speedy recovery.
What To Expect Immediately After Surgery
Your dentist or surgeon will give you clear information on any medications your child should be taking and how you can encourage healing for their specific situation. Help in aiding your child’s recovery by following these general guidelines for immediately after wisdom tooth extraction:
Use the Provided Gauze For Bleeding
It would be best if your teen kept the gauze pad placed over the surgical area for half an hour after the initial surgery. After 30 minutes, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded. The gauze pad is initially placed to encourage the blood clot to form, so do not keep placing gauze in the mouth if there is no active bleeding. Doing so can cause the clot to become dislodged and delay healing.
Use Ice Packs
Use an ice pack for the first few hours after surgery to help reduce swelling. Hold the ice pack to the outside of the face over the extraction site area for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off to help reduce discomfort and further swelling.
Manage Any Pain
Take any prescribed pain medications after your child has had something to eat to help prevent nausea. Vomiting after surgery can lead to the blood clots becoming dislodged.
Let the Body Rest and Relax
The only activities following wisdom tooth extraction surgery should be resting on the couch or in bed for the first day. Bending, lifting, or any strenuous activity will result in increased bleeding, swelling, and pain. Be sure your child is cautious when going from the lying down position to standing, as it’s likely they will get lightheaded when they stand up suddenly. If your teen plays sports or exercises regularly, it’s best to avoid these types of activities for 3-4 days following surgery.
Recovery time will be different for everyone depending on the length of time it takes to remove the wisdom teeth and the difficulty of the surgery. However, there is one positive thing you can count on – recovery from wisdom tooth surgery will be gradual, and there should be some improvement every day throughout the recovery process.
For typical tooth extraction, the healing timeline should look similar to this:
The first 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction surgery is vital in ensuring the blood clots form correctly and stay in place to jump-start your healing process. Stick to the dentist or surgeon’s recommendations on what to do in the first 24 hours after surgery and follow the guidelines listed above.
The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable, and there is usually some swelling that happens. Keep the mouth as clean as possible after surgery by using directed rinses and following specific dietary restrictions.
On the third day post-surgery, your teen should be feeling more comfortable and, although still swollen, patients can typically begin a more substantial diet at this point. The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, with steady improvement felt daily.
With proper care, recovery usually takes around two weeks.
The Best Ways To Speed Up Healing
Soon after surgery, blood clots will form in the place where the tooth was removed. These blood clots that form are an essential part of the healing process because they help your body by preventing too much bleeding, protect the wound from infection, and allow new tissue to grow.
The best way you can speed up the healing of wisdom teeth removal is to protect these blood clots from becoming dislodged – especially within the first 24 hours. Keep the blood clots in place by avoiding things like:
- Brushing teeth next to the extraction site
- Rinsing the mouth before the 24-hour mark
- Drinking hot liquids or eating hot foods
- Eating foods that require chewing
- Sucking on straws
- Smoking tobacco products
- Drinking alcohol
Remember: Every Day Should Get a Little Easier
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If the post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur, contact your surgeon right away. Symptoms of an infection include pain, swelling, yellow or white pus around the wound, and a high temperature. Thomas Orthodontics is also here to help answer any questions you may have before surgery or post-operative, so give us a call with any specific questions about wisdom tooth extraction for teens.