If you have just had your wisdom teeth removed, you may be wondering how to sleep comfortably. Rest is essential after any surgery, and wisdom teeth removal is no exception. Misinformation is rampant online about wisdom teeth removal and we thought we would finally put rumours to rest. In this article, dentists give their tips on how to sleep after wisdom teeth removal. Follow these tips and you will be feeling like new in no time!
Tips to Get a Good Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal
All these recommendations are given with two things in mind: reducing pain and reducing unwanted thoughts while sleeping. These two factors are essential for a good night’s sleep and proper recovery.
Please note that you don’t have to do all of these things. Some people may only need to do a few of the following to reduce pain while sleeping while others may have to try several before they find relief.
Take Pain Relief Medication Before Going to Bed
This one is pretty straightforward. If you are in pain, take pain medication an hour before going to bed. This will help you sleep through the night and reduce pain so you can get some much-needed rest.
This can include over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen (Advil) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or prescription pain medication from your dentist or surgeon. Typically the prescription pain medication given is Tylenol-3 (acetaminophen/codeine) which is a very effective pain reliever.
Typically over-the-counter pain medication takes around 30 minutes to an hour to work and will last for approximately four to six hours. If you have severe pain, dentists may recommend taking over-the-counter medication more frequently than recommended on the bottle. Just be sure to check with your dentist or surgeon first as they will know what is best for you based on your individual case.
Some people may be hesitant to take medication because they are worried about becoming addicted or dependent on it. To combat this be sure to follow the instructions on how often you can take the medication.
Use an Ice Pack
An ice pack can be very helpful in reducing swelling and pain after wisdom teeth removal. Applying an ice pack to your cheek reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels. This, in turn, will reduce pain and help you sleep more comfortably. Apply the ice pack to the outside of your cheek before going to sleep.
You can also use a bag of frozen peas or corn in a pinch. Just make sure to wrap it in a towel so it doesn’t directly touch your skin.
Sleep on Your Back
This one may be a bit difficult if you are not used to sleeping on your back but it is worth a try. When one sleeps on their side or stomach, they put pressure on the healing sockets which can cause pain. Sleeping on your back will take the pressure off of your healing sockets and allow you to sleep more comfortably.
If you find it difficult to sleep on your back, try propping yourself up with some pillows. This will help take the pressure off of your sockets and allow you to sleep more comfortably.
Of course, sleeping on your back should be done on a case-by-case basis. If you find that your extraction site is oozing or bleeding, it’s best to sleep on your side so that nothing falls backwards into your mouth.
Be Wary of Where you Get Your Information About Wisdom Teeth Removal
There is a lot of misinformation online about wisdom teeth removal. In researching for this specific article we have seen TONS of misinformation and incorrect tips being given online, even by seemingly reputable sources.
We live in a digital age where our biases can be magnified and it is important to be aware of this when looking for information online. There are even TikToks claiming the wild benefits of pineapple juice for wisdom teeth removal. At best, information like this does nothing. At worst, this misinformation can lead to unnecessary worrying after your surgery.
Be sure to get your information from a reputable source like your dentist or surgeon. Even a source such as WebDMD, which is written by dentists, can only get so far in helping individual needs.
Your dentist or surgeon will be able to give you specific instructions on how to care for your mouth after surgery and what you can expect during your recovery. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have. Make sure to get all instructions in writing so there is no confusion!
Other Recommendations After Wisdom Tooth Removal
In addition to following the above tips, there are a few other recommendations that dentists typically give you which can help prevent pain from occurring during the recovery process. They can also help patients sleep after wisdom teeth removal.
Not Drinking Through a Straw
For the first 24 hours, you should avoid drinking through a straw after wisdom tooth extraction. This is primarily because constant suction might dislodge the blood clot that forms at the extraction site. If this happens, you may develop a painful condition called a dry socket.
Not Consuming Alcohol, Carbonated Beverages, or Crunch/Chewy Foods
For the first day after your wisdom teeth are pulled, also abstain from alcohol, carbonated drinks, and crunchy or chewy foods. Much like using a straw, these can cause the blood clot that forms post-extraction to become dislodged.
Not Swishing Hard After Brushing Teeth
When brushing your teeth, avoid swishing the water around too vigorously in your mouth. This can also cause the blood clot to dislodge, leading to a dry socket. Instead of swishing violently, try gently swishing the water and then allowing it to drip out of your mouth for the first few days.
Not Smoking or Vaping
A number of research studies have established a connection between smoking/vaping and the development of dry sockets. Smoking dries out your mouth, making it more difficult to heal any type of sore, surgery, or infection after removal. Additionally, the sucking motion may induce a blood clot to break loose. If you smoke cigarettes, try to give them up for at least 2-3 days following dental surgery.
Not Planning Heavy Exercise
Exercise is great for your overall health, but it’s best to avoid anything too strenuous immediately following dental surgery. By undergoing intense exercise after a tooth extraction you increase your blood pressure and heart rate which increases the risk of dislodging the blood clot and wisdom tooth’s stitches. If you must exercise, try to stick to light cardio or yoga.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.