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Dentists in Lethbridge Share Tips on Recovering After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction

An estimated 10 million wisdom teeth are removed each year in the United States. While similar stats about us Canucks are hard to find, our team of dentists here in Lethbridge know that the procedure is just as common on this side of the border.

In other words, most of us will say goodbye to our third molars at some point, usually between the ages of 16 and 25. If your turn is coming up, here’s what you can expect and how you can ensure everything heals without a hitch.

Will it Hurt?
A little. But don’t panic—pain following a wisdom tooth extraction usually subsides quickly and is only intense in the first few hours after the anesthetic wears off. Painkillers, whether prescribed by your dentist or purchased over the counter, are usually all that’s needed to keep things manageable. You can also use an ice pack to minimize swelling. However, to prevent surgical complications, there are a few other things you need to do.

Is Aftercare Really that Important?
Absolutely.  Every surgical procedure has its risks. In the case of wisdom tooth extraction, the most common preventable complication is a painful condition known as dry socket. After your tooth comes out, a blood clot will form in the empty space left behind. If this clot dissolves or gets dislodged, your nerve endings and bone will become exposed, and you’ll end up back in the dentist’s chair with a case of dry socket. Aside from severe pain, symptoms of dry socket include low-grade fever, bad breath, swollen lymph nodes and a foul taste in your mouth. Not fun.

What Should I do to Prevent Complications?
The key to a speedy recovery is to keep those aforementioned socket clots in place. For the first couple of hours following your extraction, avoid eating and drinking, don’t speak too much, and try not to spit. After that:

• Avoid intense physical activity for a few days.
• Brush your teeth as usual, but avoid the affected area. Gently rinse with saltwater or a diluted alcohol-free mouthwash.
• Stick to soft foods for the first few days following the procedure. If eating hurts too much at first, consider a liquid meal replacement. Your body needs proper nourishment to heal!
• Don’t eat anything that could get stuck in the socket while you chew. Nuts and popcorn are two major offenders.
• Stay clear of carbonated beverages, alcohol, and anything overly hot.

Have any questions about your upcoming wisdom tooth extraction? Need to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Lethbridge? Looking for a team of top-notch dentists to take care of your whole family’s pearly whites? Get in touch with London Road Dental.