1. Plan to spend at least three quiet days at home
While some people heal quickly enough that returning to school or work is possible after only two days, it is a safer bet to clear a third day for recovery. Also, limit physical activity at first, because strenuous activities can sometimes cause the blood clot in the sockets to dissolve or become knocked loose, leading to a painful condition known as dry socket.
2. Have plenty of soft foods available
Try to keep a variety of soft or pureed foods that contain plenty of vitamins and other nutrients easily accessible. Even appealing foods such as pudding and ice cream will get boring when they are all you are able to eat, and your body will not recover as quickly or as easily because of the lack of nutrition. Vegetable and fruit juices can be a delicious way to get some nutrition on a temporary liquid diet. When soft chewing is possible again, mash soft fruits and vegetables to make them easier to swallow.
3. Try to avoid pressure changes in the mouth
Stay away from straws for a few days after your wisdom tooth removal, and be careful when coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose, as these are all activities that can cause suction or a pressure increase in the mouth. These pressure changes make it more likely that the blood clot becomes dislodged, potentially causing dry socket.
4. Flush your mouth gently with warm saltwater after eating or drinking
While most people do not find saltwater particularly tasty, warm saltwater rinses are very soothing to the fresh wounds after wisdom tooth removal. Additionally, doing this helps keep the surgery sites clean by removing food debris from the sockets and even providing some antibacterial benefits, which helps to prevent infection. Take care not to swallow the saltwater when doing this.
5. If pain gets worse instead of better, do not put off seeing your dentist or oral surgeon
Most reputable oral surgeons leave contact information for patients to use at any time if problems develop after wisdom tooth removal surgery. Do not hesitate to call your surgeon if you believe there may be an issue developing, because jaw infections and dry socket can be incredibly painful and may also delay proper healing of your gums after the surgery. It is best to be treated early for both of these conditions.
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