Wisdom teeth sometimes grow funny, become impacted or infected, and very often need to be removed. This is a routine oral surgical procedure that is completely painless and can be done within about three days’ time, but only if you keep your aftercare instructions to the letter! Wisdom tooth extraction leaves an open wound called a surgical site where your wisdom tooth was, and this wound can become easily infected if you don’t take good care of it. Here is what you need to know to protect your extraction site and make sure you heal properly in the least amount of time.
The blood clot and the wisdom tooth extraction aftercare
After extraction, the blood that is produced by the wound should congeal into a blood clot. This should cover all of the wound and even some of the surrounding tissues. The wound cannot heal without this blood clot, so you need to make sure that it stays on the extraction site and is absorbed by the body, otherwise you run the risk of serious infection, dry socket and alveolitis. Essentially, wisdom tooth aftercare has the aim of preserving the blood clot!
Do not suck on the area or poke it with your tongue, or you may disturb the blood clot and prolong healing or stop it altogether. The blood clot should be absorbed by the body in a day or two, and during this time brush the area very gently with a very soft bristled toothbrush, and avoid the use of mouthwash. Rinse the area gently with warm water after meals, the first of which you should have once the blood clot is settled and the anaesthetic has worn off.
Wisdom tooth extracted and dental hygiene
At home dental hygiene should be changed a little bit when you have to practice wisdom tooth aftercare. When brushing, do not move the toothbrush over the surface of the blood clot, gently go around it and remove any pieces of food that may be stuck to it. The rest of the mouth should be washed thoroughly, but the extraction site only gently for the first two days, and even afterwards, only very cautiously. Use warm water! Water that is too hot or too cold will cause a strong pain reaction.
After wisdom tooth extraction: Don’t eat that!
Here is a list of foods that you cannot eat after wisdom tooth extraction if you want to have a proper wisdom tooth aftercare:
- Dairy products: The bacterial cultures in certain dairy products, like yoghurt, ayran and kefir, as well as a number of raw cheeses can colonise the extraction site, which will result in a very nasty infection.
- Spicy or very acidic foods: Spicy and acidic foods will be painful to eat, but can also dissolve or otherwise disrupt the blood clot. Nothing with chilli, vinegar, turmeric or black pepper until a few days after the tooth extraction.
- Nuts: The tiny pieces that nuts become once smashed by the teeth are the perfect tools for getting under the blood clot and removing it. These tiny particles also tend to get stuck between the teeth and you can also disrupt the blood clot by trying to remove these tiny pieces.
- Hard candy: Anything that you need to suck on to consume is off limits until the blood clot is completely reabsorbed.
- Anything gooey: Gooey foods will stick to the blood clot and yank it right off of the extraction site, so please try and avoid them.
- Sweets: Sweets will cause bacteria to proliferate and will significantly raise the chances of infection. Please try and avoid them.
- Alcohol and smoking: It is extremely important that you do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes for up to 72 hours after tooth extraction. Alcohol will dissolve the blood clot, and cigarettes will dry it out and make it fall off of the extraction site, so please try and avoid these activities.
For full list of all the foods that are off limits, please consult your dentist. Please note that the blood clot should be visible shortly after surgery and should stay for up to 72 hours. If still there, or if missing, please inform your dentist immediately. Any additional guidelines and aftercare rules must be followed and obeyed. Make sure you ask for a full list of wisdom tooth extraction aftercare instructions from your dentist!