Get Wise About Your Child's Wisdom Teeth
Most young people have their wisdom teeth removed sometime during high school or college break, and it’s the parents who have the daunting task of taking care of them after surgery. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare can make a parent’s life a lot easier.
Here are some answers to common questions and best advice for surviving the surgery and recovery.
What can I do to prepare for surgery?
Before surgery, stock the house with mouthwash, ice packs, ibuprofen, and soft foods that can be eaten without a straw such as soup, Jell-o, yogurt and eggs.
What can I expect to see in the recovery room?
In the recovery room, patients are groggy from anesthesia and have gauze packing in their mouths. Patients remain in recovery for about 30 minutes. During that time, the oral surgeon talks to parents about what to expect over the next few days.
What will the days immediately following surgery be like?
On the day of the surgery, the patient’s head should be kept elevated; lying down tends to increase bleeding and swelling.
Swelling is the biggest problem and will peak on the third day. The more the area is iced during the first 48 hours –– the less swelling there will be the rest of the week.
Prescription pain medication should be administered into the patient’s system before local anesthesia wears off. However, to prevent pain best, it also helps to have the patient take ibuprofen within an hour of leaving the office.
Patients should not eat any hot soup or food until the numbness is completely gone.
In addition, there may be stitches or sutures that will come out on their own.
What can I do to prevent infection and dry socket?
Dry socket is a painful condition that can occur in the space where the tooth was removed. Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent it, although closely following recommended post-operative instructions helps.
The day after the surgery, the patient should start rinsing her mouth with mouthwash or warm salt water several times a day, particularly after eating, to keep things clean and healthy during the healing process.
And remember these rules:
The day of the procedure: NO chewing, NO rinsing, NO gargling
For three days after surgery: NO sucking through a straw
Knowing what to expect will allow you to be there for your child and take care of them through what can sometimes be a harrowing ordeal.
Updated June 6, 2016