How To Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal – Wisdom tooth removal is often recommended by a family dentist after a regular exam. Conditions are appropriate when the wisdom teeth are crowding the rest of the teeth or the teeth are impacted. Impacted teeth mean that the teeth in question do not fully emerge through the gums. This can lead to infections, cysts, tumors or periodontal disease. A dentist will recommend extracting the wisdom teeth at a younger age because the healing and recovery time after the surgery tends to be faster.
The American Dental Association recommends wisdom tooth removal when these factors appear:
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Pain and swelling
- Fluid-filled sacs
- Gum disease
The decision to undergo surgery to remove wisdom tooth should be discussed with a dentist or oral surgeon to define expectations and possible complications .
How To Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal – Understanding This Oral Surgery
Although wisdom teeth extraction is common and considered minor surgery, it is still surgery and involves recovery time. Unlike removing other teeth where a local anesthetic is used to numb the area, wisdom teeth removal often requires deeper sedation. The type of sedation, whether local anesthesia, conscious sedation or general anesthesia, is determined by the complexity of the procedure. With this surgery, it is common to have some bone and gum tissue removed.
After having wisdom teeth removed, pain and swelling often present in the face and neck. There may also be some bruising, and sore throats are not uncommon. The activity level of the patient will be compromised. With all of the side effects and symptoms of recovery, many struggle with how to sleep after wisdom teeth removal. Sleeping is a vital part of the healing process. In order to ensure quick healing, it is important to adhere to post-operative care.
Post-Op Care To Help Ease The Pain
Massage your masseter
After surgery, the jaw may be sore since the mouth is kept open for a prolonged period of time. To ease any pain or discomfort, place the fingers just in front of the ears’ opening, and give the area a gentle massage .
Stem the bleeding
After wisdom tooth removal, slight bleeding and oozing from the wound may occur for one to two days. For bleeding gums, place a gauze pad on the surgical site, and bite down gently. Replace the gauze pack as needed. If bleeding begins again, elevate the head or rest on a recliner to help the bleeding subside. Some dentists suggest positioning a moistened tea bag on the area for 30 minutes. The tannic acid present in tea constricts blood vessels and lessens the bleeding. Ice packs on the affected side at 20-minute intervals are also helpful. The patient should attempt to keep the tongue away from the surgical area to prevent dislodging any newly formed blood clots.
Sutures are usually placed to close the wound where the surgery was conducted to reduce post-operative bleeding and speed up the healing process. Patients should be cautious not to dislodge any sutures with the tongue. Typically, sutures dissolve on their own. For more complicated surgeries, a surgeon may be required for the removal of sutures.
Minimize the swelling
Swelling is normal on the side where the oral surgery was conducted as this is the body’s response to the procedure and the healing that follows. Minimize the swelling by placing an ice pack on the affected side. Leave it on for 20 minutes intervals .
Rinse with salt water
It is crucial to keep the mouth clean after surgery. To speed up the healing process after surgery, rinse the mouth with salt water after eating to minimize the swelling and pain. Do not brush your teeth until directed by your oral surgeon as the surgical area can be irritated and blood clotting can be disrupted.
In order to efficiently deal with the pain and discomfort after the surgery, plan ahead of time. Talk to the doctor about the effects of local versus general anesthesia and preparations that need to be accomplished before the day of surgery.
Pay attention to nutrition
Surgeons will dictate what can and cannot be eaten after surgery. After surgery, avoid using straws so as not to disrupt the healing process or cause dry sockets. A surgeon may suggest liquids and soft foods. Ask your surgeon for diet specifics .
Nausea is common
Nausea and vomiting may occur after surgery, especially when the patient swallowed some blood. Nausea may also be caused by anesthetic or pain medicine. Pain medication should be taken after eating to prevent nausea. Alleviate nausea with some tea or ginger. If you are still vomiting or feeling nauseous, increase the amount of fluids being consumed to prevent dehydration. Contact your surgeon if vomiting ensues.
Maintain your medication regimen
A surgeon prescribes medications for a reason. Even if the patient is feeling better, the full course of antibiotics should be ingested until directed to stop.
How To Avoid Dry Sockets After Oral Surgery
One complication of wisdom teeth removal surgery is a dry socket. The tooth socket refers to the hole in the bone from which the tooth was extracted. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot that has formed on the surface is dislodged or removed. This leaves the hole open to food, air and water. A dry socket causes pain, swelling and discomfort .
Treatment for dry socket
Call your surgeon immediately if you suspect that a dry socket has developed. One or more of the following treatments may be ordered:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines – One way to combat the swelling and pain that radiate from the wound is to take any prescribed anti-inflammatories.
- Medicated paste – A dentist may order a medicated paste. This paste is applied to the hole to help it heal faster.
- Antibiotics – Antibiotics are often prescribed prophylactically to prevent infection or in the event that the socket becomes infected.
How to prevent dry socket
- Follow good oral hygiene practices. Do not brush your teeth until your surgeon says it is safe.
- Gargle with salt water as ordered. Gargle thoroughly but gently to avoid dislodging clots.
- Change the gauze pad. If the gums are still bleeding, place a gauze pad on the hole, and apply gentle pressure. This absorbs excess blood and prevents food and saliva from entering the hole. When changing the pad, be gentle to prevent loosening the clot.
- Avoid carbonated drinks. Avoid drinking soda and other carbonated beverages as they contain certain particles that may irritate the wound. Choose water for fluid intake to help flush any debris from the mouth.
- Keep the tongue away from the surgical site.
How To Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Here are some hints for how to sleep after wisdom teeth removal.
Elevate the head for three days
After a surgery to remove wisdom teeth, keep the head and upper body elevated at a 45-degree angle for three days. This way, the blood vessel tone and blood volume near the tooth extraction flows downward instead of pooling in the surgical area. This can lead to a decrease in pain.
Take pain medication
Some pain or discomfort is normal after this procedure. A surgeon may recommend Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Take all medications as prescribed or directed to keep pain at a minimum. If moderate pain or more severe pain is expected, a surgeon may order stronger medication. Follow the specific instructions as ordered for that particular pain medication.
Avoid strenuous activities
Oral surgeons recommend avoiding strenuous activities as much as possible after wisdom teeth removal to prevent further bleeding. Lifting heavy objects or pushing too hard during training can make you feel lightheaded, nauseous and cause more bleeding.
Planning ahead and scheduling the time to sleep is imperative. A lot of pain and discomfort can be avoided after the surgery by taking the time to rest.
Wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure that requires special post-op care
Part of that care is getting enough sleep so that the healing process can begin. A patient should not jump back to normal activity as it may cause further bleeding or throbbing pain in the area where the tooth was removed. Following the tips mentioned above can help make this oral surgery easier to bear especially during the healing process. Any unusual symptoms post-op or fevers that develop after surgery should be reported to the surgeon. A medical professional can recommend specific medicines to reduce the fever and relieve the pain. Recovery depends upon the complexity of the surgery, but plan on at least one to two days of decreased activity.
How To Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal Resources:
 Mayo Clinic; Wisdom teeth removal: When is it necessary?, Thomas J. Salinas, D.D.S., December 03, 2016.
 Ask The Dentist; wisdom teeth surgery: 6 ways to recover faster, Burhenne, December 12, 2018.
 Virginia Oral & Facial Surgery; After Wisdom Tooth Removal.
 Santa Barbara Center For Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery; After Wisdom Tooth Removal.
 Austin Oral Mixillofacial Surgery; Avoiding Dry Sockets After Oral Surgery.