Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to come in; these are the last set of molars in the back of your mouth. Most of us have four wisdom teeth- two on the top and two on the bottom. Usually, they fully come in through your gums between ages 18 and 24.
Wisdom tooth extraction is one of the most common tooth removals out there. It's a surgery you get when your wisdom teeth are causing dental problems or if they might do so in the future. And while the procedure shouldn't be painful in itself, the site of extraction may be a little tender for a few days. For up to 3-7 days, you may feel a swelling in your jaw, some bleeding and bruising, and pain that can make it hard to eat, drink, and sleep.
Sleeping Better After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
A wisdom tooth extraction is a routine procedure, and you may be sedated for it, so it's important to understand how to sleep comfortably and recover after the surgery. Sleeping after getting a wisdom tooth extracted is, obviously, challenging. While everyone will feel the pain differently, there are a few things you can do to make those sleepless nights go by more easily after getting a wisdom tooth extraction.
- To brush or not to brush: For the next 24 hours after the procedure, don't brush your teeth, don't rinse, and don't spit. And avoid touching the wound with your tongue or with your fingers. If you disturb the sockets during the first 24 hours, it may dislodge the blood clot causing it to start bleeding again, and they may not heal properly. You can brush your teeth on day 2, and then gently rinse with warm saltwater.
- Take your pain relievers: Managing pain is as important as any other advice for a good night's sleep after getting a wisdom tooth removed. If you have been prescribed any pain relief medications by your dental surgeon, those will help dull the pain long enough for you to fall asleep. Try to take it before the anesthetic wears off. Another option is to take ibuprofen (if you don't have any medical conditions it will interfere with). But it’s important not to exceed the allowed dose for whichever medication you go with. If you are still in pain after taking your pain meds, it’s time to contact your dentist.
- Remove the gauze before going to bed: You should make sure to remove the gauze from your mouth (you can remove it after at least 30 min after the surgery) before you go to bed so you don't choke on it.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment: Everything that you would do for a better night's sleep will also help you sleep better with this pain. You should keep your room dark and cool, have a comfortable mattress and pillow, stay off the electronics, and sleep on a schedule. So turn off the lights, use blockout curtains, and reduce the room's temperature to between 60°C and 67°C.
- Apply ice: If you have just had a wisdom tooth extraction, there is bound to be some swelling in your gums. By applying ice wrapped in a cloth on the relevant cheek for just 10 to 20 minutes for the first few days, you can reduce the swelling.
- Sleep in the right position: It is generally advised that for the next 24 hours after your wisdom tooth extraction, you should rest with your head elevated above your heart. You can use your pillows to create a 45° elevation for your body and keep your head lifted.
- Taking care of yourself physically: It's important to stay hydrated/fed and keep your physical activity to a bare minimum at the same time.
- Food and drinks: Stay hydrated and fed for proper recovery. While the wounds will make it harder to eat and enjoy it, you can still eat many soft and cold foods like ice cream, yogurt, khichdi, milk, curd rice, and upma among others. Avoid hot food and drinks. Avoid drinking from a straw for a week because sucking on it can pull the blood clot out of the socket and resume the bleeding. Don’t eat or drink anything that causes discomfort in your mouth. And completely avoid smoking or taking tobacco in any form.
- Other than this, you can try aromatherapy or listen to relaxing music as you go to sleep. Lastly, listen to your dental surgeon and follow any advice they may have for you.
If you simply follow the advice listed above, you will surely be able to get a restful sleep and go through the week without being very disturbed by the pain.
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