The least needed teeth in your mouth can cause you the most trouble. Most dental professionals agree that it is a question of “when” not “if” wisdom teeth will eventually be a problem. Before the invention of utensils and modern cooking techniques, wisdom teeth were essential for the early human diet of raw meat, roots, nuts, and other course foods. Evolution has increased the size of the human brain and reduced the size of the jawbone. This is why wisdom teeth should be removed.
Why Wisdom Teeth Should be Removed
Thirty-two teeth will not fit in a jaw only big enough for twenty-eight. This is when the problems start.
What Can Happen When Wisdom Teeth Aren’t Removed
The consequences of not having wisdom teeth removed can be painful and affect the overall health of your mouth.
- Impacted – When a wisdom tooth is positioned more horizontally or partially horizontal, the tooth is stuck or impacted which can cause damage to the tooth next to the impacted wisdom tooth.
- Decay – Because it is difficult to clean wisdom teeth well since they are so far in the back of your mouth, wisdom teeth are more likely to get cavities in them.
- Infection – An impacted wisdom tooth that is impacted in the jawbone can cause a cyst (a fluid-filled sac) that may damage tooth roots or bone.
- Disease – A partially impacted wisdom tooth can trap bacteria causing gum disease around the tooth.
Your dentist can diagnosis wisdom teeth that need to be extracted well before any of these problems occur. It is always best to have this issue addressed BEFORE you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
What You Should and Should Not Eat after Wisdom Teeth Are Removed
Nutrition and hydration are a critical part of the healing process after surgery. Texture, temperature and bite-size are all things to keep in mind when planning your post-surgical menu.
- Mashed Potatoes – Regular and sweet potatoes that are creamy without large lumps are a great option. Feel free to add butter, gravy or sour cream for a delicious, easy to eat lunch or dinner.
- Soup – This is another nutritious option a day or two after surgery. Two things to remember are enjoying your soup warm (not hot) and choose broth-based soups that are not loaded with chunky vegetables or meat.
- Apple Sauce – This nutrient-dense option has great fiber and vitamin C and doesn’t cause too much chewing effort making it a good choice in the early recovery period.
- Jell-O, Pudding, and Yogurt – Any of these choices can be put in your refrigerator a week ahead of your surgery for a quick grab and go snack. This is especially good if you are by yourself after surgery.
- Ice Cream – If you really want to treat yourself, soft-serve ice cream is a post-surgical go to after extractions. It will promote healing because of the soothing coolness on the inflamed tissues. Just be sure to avoid any confection additives like nuts and chocolate chips.
- Smoothies – Whether you add protein powder or seedless fresh fruit, smoothies can be an easy, nutritious and tasty meal replacement during the healing period. DO NOT use a straw. The suction pressure can disturb the surgical site resulting in a dry socket.
After about a week or two, you can slowly start to incorporate your other favorite spicy, chewy or crunchy foods.
How to Sleep After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Just like good nutrition, quality sleep is vital to the healing process following wisdom teeth removal. Some of the recovery symptoms and post-surgical side effects can make sleeping difficult. These tips will help you get good shut-eye after surgery.
- Elevation – Keeping your head elevated at 45 degrees will help decrease swelling and pain.
- Relaxation – To prevent excess bleeding, avoid strenuous activities that involve heavy lifting. Increasing your blood pressure too much by working out or jogging for the first week after surgery can cause nausea and excess bleeding.
- Medication – The best way to keep comfortable after surgery is to take the recommended medication your dentist suggests. Depending on the level of pain anticipated, your dentist may suggest ibuprofen, Tylenol or prescription pain medication. In some cases, an antibiotic and prescription mouth rinse may be recommended.
- Ice Application – To minimize excessive swelling it is crucial to apply ice packs in 20-minute intervals for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Simply following the post-operative instructions given to you by your dentist will allow you to have restful and restorative sleep, heal quickly and avoid unnecessary discomfort. In turn, you will feel better sooner and get back to your normal activities sooner.
Hopefully, you now understand why wisdom teeth should be removed. Never hesitate to contact your dentist with any questions or concerns during the days following wisdom tooth removal. For more information, professionals at My Time Dental Centers have all the answers to inquiries you may still have.