September 22, 2021
If a patient is about to undergo wisdom teeth removal, they probably have several concerns. Worrying about how wisdom teeth removal will impact sleep is often at the top of the list. For some patients, post-surgery rest and recuperation can be challenging. Fortunately, with the right approach and a few postoperative tips, most patients can still get the rest they need to recover.
Take pain medication as prescribed
For the first couple of hours after the surgery, most patients feel relatively fine. This is because the effects of the anesthesia have not worn off. Patients should not let the lack of pain and discomfort fool them into doing too much, too soon. Once the anesthesia wears off, patients will start to experience some level of discomfort. And too much pain will begin to hinder sleep. There is no reason to try and tough it out. Patients should take pain medication as prescribed by their dentist to help set themselves up for optimal comfort during rest and recovery.
Sleep in the proper position
The surgical sites may bleed during the initial stages of healing. This is why dentists recommend patients bite down on clean gauze to keep pressure on the sites and promote the formation of blood clots. And laying down flat could lead to unnecessary blood flow to the head and increase pain and swelling. Patients should rest with their head elevated above their heart for the first 24 hours following wisdom teeth removal. Patients are also advised to sleep on their side to reduce the risk of choking on the gauze. If that is uncomfortable, patients can use a pillow to lean back against instead of sleeping fully on one side. And during the early stages of recovery, it is beneficial to have someone present while patients sleep so they don’t choke. The person can also wake the patient every 30 minutes to check the gauze and surgical sites. Gauze is only typically required for the first three hours after surgery. Beyond that, it often becomes more of a hindrance than a help.
Follow other postoperative instructions
After wisdom teeth removal, it is also important to follow other postoperative instructions from the dentist. Patients should stay hydrated and take it easy the first two or three days. Patients should also consider icing the jaws, eating only soft foods, and avoiding the use of a straw. For the first 24 hours, patients should not brush their teeth or rinse their mouth. After that, patients should return to brushing their teeth twice a day while working gently around the surgical sites. They should also rinse regularly with warm salt water to help keep the sockets clean and prevent infection. Dentists also advise against alcohol and tobacco use during recovery to avoid the risk of dry socket.
Contact the dentist if you have severe symptoms
Patients should contact the dentist immediately if any severe symptoms. These include difficulty breathing or swallowing, excessive swelling, bleeding, pain, fever, or nausea. Patients should also watch for pus oozing from the socket or a bad taste in the mouth that persists after a saltwater rinse. If any one of these severe symptoms arises it is important to contact the dentist as soon as possible.