4 Tips for Speeding Up Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery Time

Wisdom teeth, the molars that sit at the back of your upper jaw, usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 24. While for most of us, wisdom teeth emerge without complications, a small percentage erupt on an angle or cause infection, making it necessary to remove them. Dentists recommend at least three or four days off work after wisdom teeth removal, but recovery can take up to two weeks. Take a look at these tips for speeding up the recovery time after having your wisdom teeth removed, to help stop the pain and get you back to work faster.

1. Keep your head elevated

While the painkillers your oral surgeon gives you will likely make you drowsy, it's important to keep your head elevated and not lie completely flat for at least three days after surgery. This is because blood pools in the wound area when lying flat, which can cause throbbing. Keeping your head elevated to at least 45 degrees will prevent this pooling, reduce pain and help speed up your recovery time.

2. Avoid dry socket

Dry socket, where the alveolar bone becomes exposed after a tooth is removed, can delay the healing process by weeks. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot covering the bone dislodges or falls off, so take care to avoid vigorous movements such as forceful spitting. The use of tobacco and oral contraceptives can stop blood clots from forming, so try to avoid these during your recovery time. Speaking of tobacco use, even smoking prior to your procedure can prevent clotting, so avoid smoking the day before your surgery and up to five days after, if possible.

3. Massage your masseter muscles

One of the most common causes of pain following a wisdom teeth extraction is jaw pain due to having one's mouth propped open by a surgeon for up to two hours. Your masseter muscles, which are used for chewing, are not designed to be flexed for this long, and can become cramped or sore following surgery. Massaging your masseter muscles on a regular basis can help relieve some of the pain - they can be found near your jaw joint, just before the opening to your ear.

4. Follow your medication schedule

Your oral surgeon will likely have given you a strict regimen of paracetamol, ibuprofen and antibiotics to take in the days following your surgery. Follow their instructions to the letter - the painkillers will help relieve discomfort while you are healing, and the antibiotics can help ward off any infections that could delay your recovery. If the pain and swelling has not begun to reduce after a few days, make sure to get back in contact with your surgeon for further advice.