The following article contains blood that may be harmful or traumatizing for some.
Ever heard of the “wisdom tooth” before? It refers to the tooth that usually grows at the back of the gums. Throughout an adult’s lifetime, a maximum of four wisdom teeth is expected to appear, with two at the top and two at the bottom.
While the wisdom tooth rarely poses a health risk, dentists often recommend it to be removed due to its position which makes it hard for it to be cleaned properly and may cause surrounding teeth to decay.
During one of my regular visits to the dentist, I was advised to remove my wisdom tooth as the X-ray showed that it was growing horizontally and could affect the tooth beside it.
As much as I squirmed on the inside and wished I could sit it out, I decided to take the dentist’s advice and underwent a minor surgery to remove my wisdom tooth. However, it’s important to note that not everyone is required to do the same so be sure to consult your dentist beforehand.
With that being said, here are several tips that I found useful before and after the procedure that helped me to recover more quickly.
1. Eat a full meal
The procedure in extracting the wisdom tooth typically lasts around 3-4 hours so make sure you have a meal beforehand as the last thing you want is to have a rumbling stomach loud enough for you and the dentist to hear (oops).
Also, do remember that you can only take soft foods after the surgery so take this opportunity to feast on your favourite meal!
2. Stem the bleeding
While it’s completely normal to see the wound bleed after the procedure, make sure that it doesn’t last for too long. Your dentist should give you some gauze to bite on to apply pressure to the wound and stop the bleeding.
Although I experienced an abnormal amount of blood loss, it almost stopped entirely after dinner on the first-day post-surgery. I also drank some iced water and did a cold compress to ease the pain.
3. Compress the swollen area
Swelling is an unavoidable stage for all forms of surgery, including wisdom tooth extraction. In my case, the dentist suggested cold-compressing the swollen area for the first 36 hours and warm-compressing after that to quicken the healing process.
There are two ways in which you can prepare the compress – 1) Use a reusable hot/cold dual usage pack or 2) Wrapped some ice cubes with a cloth for the cold compress and a cloth wrung out in warm water for the hot compress.
According to the dentist, the swelling normally lasts for a week, but my face remained ballooned up for almost two weeks. In some cases, others have experienced swelling for only 3 days.
4. Get enough rest
One of the essential things my dentist reminded me of after the surgery was not to move around and do vigorous exercise for a few days.
I was given 3 days of medical leave and was ordered to avoid going up and about. This was to prevent the stitched wound from opening up and bleeding once more.
5. Drink plenty of water WITHOUT a straw
As the healing of the wound depends a lot on one’s immune system and health condition, drinking plenty of water is highly encouraged as it helps to speed up the recovery process and keep the body hydrated.
However, avoid drinking hot water as it might irritate the wound and cause it to bleed. Instead, go for cold water for the first few days to soothe the wound and numb the pain.
Also, DO NOT use a straw to drink water at any point in time or you may risk ripping the wound open while sucking liquids through it.
6. Take soft and lukewarm food
As mentioned previously, having your wisdom tooth extracted causes immense pain, in which you can only consume soft food to fill your stomach.
After the surgery, I was subjected to a week’s supply of soft foods which consisted of porridge, mashed potato, soft-boiled eggs, mashed avocado etc.
I was also given 15 antibiotic pills for a course of 5 days and some painkillers to take only when the pain was overwhelming. I have to say that the painkillers are truly a lifesaver as I was in agony for the first few days.
I hope you’ve become a little braver in making that dentist appointment you’ve been postponing for months after reading about my own experience!
Disclaimer: This article is solely based on the author’s personal opinion and experience. Seek medical attention immediately if you encounter any adverse side effects.
Cover image by WeirdKaya
Editor: Sarah Yeoh