Wisdom tooth extraction usually leaves a large hole in the gums and the underlying bone. The hole is where the roots were originally located. In some cases, the hole is the size of a single molar. Some oral surgeons will sew the hole closed. However, sometimes stitches are not used, and in such cases, you may face a bit of a hassle. Food residue will easily enter, and rinsing the mouth with salt water alone will not be enough to clean it. By learning how to clean and treat your gum sores, you can prevent infection and complications during your recovery.
Part 1 of 3: Caring for Wounds After Tooth Extraction
Step 1. Ask if the doctor sutured the open hole
If the doctor closes the hole with stitches, food will not be able to enter. You may see gray, black, blue, green, or yellow particles near the extraction area. Discoloration is normal and part of the recovery process.
Step 2. Avoid contact with the wound for the whole day after the procedure
Brush and floss, but avoid the teeth closest to the wound.
Step 3. Gently rinse your mouth with salt water for the first 48 hours
You can wash your mouth on the first day, but be careful.
- Mix tsp. salt with one glass of warm water. Stir well.
- Do not use salt water to gargle or spit. You can simply tilt your head so that the salt water can completely rinse your mouth, or use your tongue to direct the saline solution.
- After that, lean over to the sink and open your mouth to let the water fall by itself. Don't spit it out.
- Your doctor may give you chlorhexidine gluconate (Peridex, Periogard) to rinse your mouth. This germicide-containing mouthwash can help kill bacteria. Dissolve in water in a ratio of 1:1 to avoid the negative effects of chlorhexidine.
Step 4. Do not use fingers or foreign objects to remove food from the hole
Don't dig a hole with your tongue either. It will introduce bacteria into the wound and disrupt the tissue. Salt water is enough to remove food debris.
Step 5. Don't smoke and use a straw
Any kind of sucking motion can dislodge the clot, creating a dry socket that is painful and potentially infectious.
Part 2 of 3: Washing the Mouth After the First Day
Step 1. Make a salt solution
Salt water is very useful for cleaning wounds in the mouth, removing food debris, and reducing pain and inflammation.
- Add tsp. salt in about 200 ml of water.
- Stir well until the salt dissolves in the water.
Step 2. Gently rinse your mouth until the salt water runs out
You may need to focus on cleaning the cavities to remove food debris and relieve inflammation.
Step 3. Repeat this procedure every two hours and after each meal
Don't forget to wash your mouth thoroughly before going to bed. This will reduce inflammation and help ensure the wound is clean and will heal properly.
Step 4. Use a syringe if advised by the doctor
The use of a syringe can control the flow of water and clean the wound more effectively. However, if not used properly, the syringe can drain the blood clot that has formed to restore tissue. Ask your doctor if you can use it.
- Fill the syringe with warm water. You can also use salt water.
- Aim the end of the tube as close to the tooth hole as possible, but don't touch it.
- Spray holes from every corner to clean the wound and prevent infection. Do not spray too vigorously as a strong spray directly into the cavities can be dangerous.
Part 3 of 3: Know Anticipation After Day One
Step 1. Don't panic
Food that goes into the cavities of a newly extracted wisdom tooth is uncomfortable, but it will not cause an infection. Recovery is still ongoing even if there is food in it, as long as you don't touch or dig inside the wound.
Step 2. Distinguish between blood clots and food
Blood clots in the gums may appear gray and fibrous, like food scraps. In this case, trying hard to clean the area will only bleed the clot and cause further complications.
Step 3. Choose soft foods
This is especially important in the first 24 hours after the tooth is extracted. You can gradually replace soft foods with slightly denser foods. It's best to avoid hard, chewy, crunchy, and spicy foods because they are very likely to get into the hole and cause irritation or infection.
- Chew food on the side of the mouth opposite the retraction opening.
- Avoid foods that are too hot or cold. Choose food at room temperature for the first two days.
Step 4. Avoid sources of contamination
Always wash your hands with soap and water. Don't shake hands for a week or more. Do not share toothbrushes and personal items with others. Make sure you don't catch a secondary infection that weakens your immune system.
Step 5. Know when you should seek medical help
The wound may bleed in the first few days after the tooth is extracted. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately:
- Excessive bleeding (not just slow flow)
- Pus in the wound
- Difficulty swallowing/breathing
- Swelling that keeps getting bigger after two or three days
- Blood or pus in nasal mucus
- Throbbing pain after the first 48 hours
- Bad breath after three days
- Pain that doesn't go away after taking painkillers
- Wash the hole a few seconds longer to remove any food residue. Tooth cavities are sometimes deeper than you think.
- As an alternative to a syringe, use a spray bottle and change the nozzle setting so that the liquid hits the orifice directly.
- This method works best for wisdom teeth that are still in the gums (not yet fully erupted) and the gums need to be incised to allow the tooth to be extracted, but it can be tried under other conditions.
- Only do this process if you can comfortably open your mouth.
- These steps are not a substitute for a doctor's advice. Follow the dentist's advice and let him know if there are any complications.
- If you feel pain during this process, consult a dentist.
- Make sure the tools you use are sterile and only for single use.