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Dos and don’ts following wisdom tooth extraction

To best reduce discomfort and avoid complications following wisdom tooth extraction, here’s a simple list of dos and don’ts for wisdom tooth extraction aftercare.

Do use the gauze provided

The blood clots that form immediately after your surgery are important to the rest of your healing process. It’s important to take the opportunity to slow or stop the bleeding straight away. Bite down on the gauze pad provided for 30 minutes and repeat if necessary.

Don’t skip your medications

Your doctor will prescribe specific medications to help you best manage postop discomfort during the first few days following your extraction. Follow the instructions on your prescription. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics, be sure to complete the full course to prevent infection.

Do ice to control swelling

Icing the surgical site lowers inflammation, which alleviates discomfort. Typically, you will want to apply an ice pack in 20-minute intervals for the first 72 hours after your procedure, or as instructed.

Don’t use a straw

Using a straw or spitting creates suction in your mouth that can potentially remove the blood clot  that forms where your wisdom tooth was removed. This can cause a condition known as dry socket. Avoid using a straw for about a week after your surgery.

Do get plenty of rest

Healing from oral surgery is a whole-body process. Make plans to do as little as possible for a couple of days following your surgery to put your body in the best position to get better.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco

If you are a tobacco user, you should ideally quit before having your wisdom teeth extracted, but at a minimum, avoid smoking or chewing for a week prior to your appointment and at least 72 hours following the surgery. Tobacco and alcohol can slow your healing process and increase your risk of dry socket.

Do plan your meals in advance

Stock your fridge with cool, soft foods like pudding, yogurt, ice cream or applesauce for the first day. Feel free to move on to soft foods like soups, smoothies or mashed potatoes on day two but don’t be in a rush to return immediately to your regular diet.

Do drink lots of water

Water is the best beverage to drink for at least 24 hours. Water cools, hydrates, alleviates swelling and assists in the healing process. Avoid hot beverages until you’re 100% sure your mouth is ready.

Call your doctor if you have any questions, concerns or setbacks relating to postop care.