Many people have their final set of molars - referred to as wisdom teeth - removed; in most cases, this is because the teeth have become impacted, causing pain and infection. An extraction is usually carried out at the patient's dental clinic using local anaesthetic; however, those with more complex dental issues will sometimes be referred to a hospital so that they can be sedated with general anaesthetic during the procedure.
The extraction itself doesn't usually take very long and in almost all instances is entirely painless; it's only afterward that people begin to experience soreness and irritation. Luckily, there are lots of ways to make the recovery process quick and comfortable.
Be cautious with food and drink
Your mouth may be numb for several hours after you have your wisdom teeth removed. Because of this, you'll be more prone to accidentally biting the inside of your cheek, or scalding your mouth with hot food and liquids, because you won't be able to feel anything. As such, it's best to avoid consuming any heated food or drink and to take care when speaking, so as not to unintentionally injure yourself.
Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
Almost everyone is aware of the fact that smoking is harmful to their health. It can be particularly problematic after an operation - even one as minor as a wisdom tooth extraction - as it can slow down the patient's recovery.
As explained on Quit.org.au, this activity negatively affects the body's ability to repair itself following surgery, impairing the healing of wounds and increasing the risk of infection. If you are a smoker, keep this in mind and try to either quit or at the very least, stop until you are fully recovered.
Alcohol is also best avoided during the first few days after a wisdom tooth extraction, as it can increase the amount of bleeding that occurs at the wound site and therefore hinder the healing process.
Manage the pain
Your dentist or surgeon will probably provide you with a prescription for painkillers. However, if the discomfort you experience after the procedure is quite mild, you may be able to manage with over-the-counter medication. Generally speaking, ibuprofen and paracetamol are recommended for mild-to-moderate soreness. If the pain gets steadily worse throughout the days following the extraction, get in touch with the dental clinic that carried out the procedure and ask their advice, as you might have an infection which needs to be treated with a course of antibiotics.