I had to have my Wisdom Teeth removed this week, and I must say, it was not the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had; however, it wasn’t AS BAD as I had expected, and I think a lot of that had to do with all of the “crazy” home remedies I tried 🙂 I’m not saying they all worked, and honestly, I can’t even tell you which ones helped more than others, but I can say that I used them all, and that aside from minimal swelling on days 2 and 3 post-surgery, and some pain towards the end of day 2, I did pretty darn good!
I only had two teeth that needed extracting, one on the bottom left, and one on the top right. I went to my oral surgeon on Tuesday morning, was put under at 11:15am, and was in the car on my way home before noon! It happened so fast! My Mom was gracious enough to come visit, drive me home, and take care of Little Man while I was still groggy. I was pretty dizzy and numb until about 5pm Tuesday night, at which point I was begged to take one of my prescribed pain pills before I started to feel the pain. All I remember after that was being extremely dizzy again, and I knew I couldn’t take any more of those pain meds if I wanted to be alert enough to take care of Little Man the rest of the week.
The tooth (or lack thereof) on the bottom was really the only one that gave me any trouble at all so I focused most of my efforts there.
Here’s What I Did:
Before my appointment, I did some reading and research, then got all of my supplies ready for surgery day. This post over at Choosing Healthy Life was helpful, but I didn’t have several of the oils mentioned, and did not want to spend the money to buy them all so I just used what I had on hand.
Following the Oral Surgeon’s directions, I kept the original gauze packs over the incision sites for at least an hour after surgery. Following that, on the day of surgery I replaced the gauze every 45 minutes to an hour with fresh, sterile gauze. Each time I changed the gauze I put about 4-5 drops of Copaiba Essential Oil on the gauze right where it would sit on my incision site. Copaiba helps reduce inflammation and swelling. After the first day, I only used the Copaiba soaked gauze at night time. It helped me not bite down on my incision sites over night, and again, helped with swelling.
I also used Copaiba, Thieves, and PanAway Essential Oils on my jawline to reduce inflammation, prevent infection, and reduce pain (respectively.) Some people take Thieves internally either on the gauze packs with Copaiba or a drop under the tongue, but I couldn’t stand the taste. Instead, I placed 2-3 drops of each oil in my palm, rubbed them all together, then rubbed the oil mixture on the outside of my jaws. If there was any extra oil mixture leftover, I would rub it on the bottoms of my feet and put my socks on.
A Note about Essential Oils: I used to be a distributor of Young Living Essential Oils, but I no longer sell them. I believe there are several different excellent choices in Essential Oil companies out there to choose from, Young Living being one of them, but each person needs to research the companies on their own to determine which company will be the best fit for their family. Several of the oils mentioned in this article are Young Living specific blends; however, a quick google search can help you create your own blends from other single essential oils. I still use Young Living oils on occasion, but I have found Plant Therapy to also have excellent quality oils at about half the price, so I have begun to purchase my oils there instead. You can Contact Me with any questions you may have.
- Ice Packs & Warm packs- The oral surgeon provided me with an ice pack to use at home, but I also had several rice socks on hand to use as either cold or warm packs. Rice socks were one of my FAVORITE things when I was pregnant and in labor! They provide so much relief, and are incredibly easy to make. Just take a long tube/knee sock, fill it with rice leaving about 2 inches of space at the top, and tie a knot. You can sew the opened edge closed if you would like, but I did not find that necessary. Keep in the fridge/freezer for a few hours for a cold pack, or microwave for 2 minutes for a warm pack! The rice sock works even better than a normal ice pack because you can wrap it all the way around your jaw to provide relief for both sides at once! That tiny ice pack from the dentist only fit on one side at a time. Use ice (or refrigerated packs if ice is too cold for you) for the first 24-48 hours after surgery to decrease swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for as much of the day as possible,) then warm packs for the next several days to help with pain.
- Salt Water Gargle- Place 1 teaspoon salt in about 8 ounces of warm water and stir to dissolve. Gargle (gently, especially on day 1) for about 5 minutes then spit out the salt water. Repeat 3-5 times per day as needed. This will hep cleanse your wounds and keep bacteria from getting where it shouldn’t be.
- Pineapple Juice- Pineapple juice has great anti-inflammatory properties! Gently swish and gargle with it as you do with salt water, or just drink it plain. Be careful on the first day though as pineapple juice is very acidic and can sting like heck if you get too much in your incision site. Take it slow!
- Warm tea bags- Brew yourself a cup of black tea (English breakfast tea), and set the teabag aside to cool for a little while. After a few minutes, place the warm (but not too hot!) tea bag on your sore gums! I also placed 1-2 drops of Copaiba in said tea with a little bit of lemon and honey to drink. Mmmmmm 🙂
- Stay Hydrated- If your mouth is hurting, it’s easy to not want to put anything at all in there, but as a nurse, I’ve probably said this one thousand times: Your body heals faster if it is equipped to do so, and the more hydrated you are, the faster you’ll get better. So at the VERY LEAST, you should be drinking plenty of water. Rule of thumb: 1 ounce of water per pound of weight. I weigh about 150lbs so I need about 150 ounces of water per day to stay adequately hydrated. In case you haven’t done the math yet, that is WAY more than eight 8-ounce glasses of water that people always throw out there. I don’t know where they got that number, but the average adult needs almost twice that amount, especially if recovering from surgery.
- Rest- Take it easy as much as you can. Thankfully, my Mom was able to come help out the day of my surgery, and I know not everyone has that luxury, but you should rest as much as you can to give your body time to heal. Day 2 wasn’t too bad for me until about an hour before the hubs got home from work. I was hurting pretty bad, and was VERY thankful to hand over the kiddo, apply some more oils, and lie down when he got home.
- Soft Foods- This is pretty much a given, but before surgery day, stock up on all kinds of soft foods. Basically anything you don’t have to chew. I made myself a batch each of vanilla pudding and chocolate pudding, and had ice cream, frozen yogurt, and Greek yogurt on hand. Don’t forget the savory treats, too, like mashed potatoes, avocado, and hummus. I got tired of all the sweet stuff pretty quickly. Pancakes and scrambled eggs are another great way to get in some actual food without too much chewing. My Mom made up a batch of Loaded Baked Potato Soup and Cheesy Pull-Apart bread for dinner before she had to leave, and I was able to eat some of that with a baby spoon. 🙂
What To Avoid:
- Don’t use straws for at least 3 days after surgery. The suction could dislodge a clot or disrupt your stitches. Your dentist may instruct you to stay away from them for longer than 3 days… just check your post-op instructions.
- Don’t force your jaw open. If you’re too sore to open your mouth very wide, don’t push it! Use smaller utensils, like rubber baby spoons, for a day or two until your muscles naturally loosen up. Forcing it will only make things worse.
- Don’t smoke! I don’t smoke, but this is a big one so I figured I would talk about it anyways. Smoking is the number one cause of dry socket after wisdom tooth extraction, which can be VERY painful. If you’re a smoker, you should have some backups on hand (patches, pills, gum, etc), and don’t smoke for at least a week after surgery.
- Stay away from small foods that can get stuck in the “pockets” where the teeth used to be: Such as rice (or tapioca pudding), popcorn, etc. If you get something stuck in there, bacteria would LOVE to hang on and create an infection for you, which I don’t think I have to tell you, would be very unpleasant.
What About You?
Have you had your wisdom teeth taken out? What home remedies helped for your recovery?
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