Recovering Quickly From Wisdom Tooth Removal

You've taken great care of your teeth, brushing, flossing and having regular dental checkups. You've done everything you're supposed to, and yet, here you are, about to have your wisdom teeth removed. Sure, you know it's not really your dentist's fault, but you can't help feeling a little miffed.

When wisdom teeth are painful, growing crooked or becoming impacted, they have just got to go. So, what should you expect when you have your wisdom teeth out, and what's the best way to recover, fast?

The great news about wisdom teeth removal is that it'll be over fast. In fact, your dentist will have the whole procedure over within about two hours. Recovery takes a little longer, but following these four steps will have you back on your feet and in the land of the living in no time.

  1. Take some time off. Although it's inconvenient, having your wisdom teeth out will put you out of the action for three or four days. Your jaw will swell, and you're likely to feel some pain after the procedure, so arrange some time away from work, study or your other activities and give your body a chance to recover.

  2. Take your medicine. It's likely you'll only need an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to reduce your pain, but it's important to be prepared. The best advice is to start taking your pain killer before the anaesthetic your dentist gives you wears off, and to keep taking it for the first 48 hours, to make your recovery as smooth and painless as possible. Patients who leave their pain medication until they are very uncomfortable find their pain much harder to manage. If you've been prescribed an antibiotic, ensure you take it as instructed and don't stop until you've completed the course. While the risk of nerve damage following wisdom tooth removal is slight, antibiotics will further reduce your chances of sustaining damage.

  3. Control your swelling. Use an ice pack, twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off, for the first 48 hours, to reduce the swelling in your jaw.

  4. Follow up. Your pain will fade as the swelling in your jaw eases, and you will naturally begin to resume your usual activities. If this doesn't happen and you are still swollen or in pain five days after your procedure, make sure to contact your dentist for a follow-up visit.

There's no doubt about it; wisdom tooth removal is unpleasant. But trust your dentist and take care during your recovery, and before you know it, you'll kiss your pain goodbye.