How to Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal

The extraction of your wisdom teeth is a typical dental operation that many people undergo at a certain stage in their lives.

These third molars, positioned at the rear of the mouth, typically appear during the late teenage years or early adulthood, and can lead to various dental complications including discomfort, overcrowding, and infection. Although wisdom teeth removal might not be exceedingly complicated, the healing process can nonetheless cause discomfort, with one of the primary difficulties being achieving restful sleep.

Understanding Wisdom Teeth Removal

Before diving into tips for better sleep, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the wisdom teeth removal procedure.

Wisdom teeth are typically removed when they become impacted, meaning they don’t have enough space to grow correctly or are growing at an angle. The process involves a dental surgeon or oral surgeon numbing the area with local or general anesthesia and then extracting the problematic teeth.

Common Post-Operative Challenges

The recovery period following wisdom teeth removal can vary from person to person, but there are some common challenges many people face. These challenges can significantly impact your ability to sleep comfortably.

  • Pain: Pain and discomfort are common after wisdom teeth removal, and they can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the cheeks and jaw is typical after the procedure, and this can also make it challenging to get comfortable in bed.
  • Bleeding: Some bleeding from the extraction sites is normal for the first 24-48 hours, and you may need to change gauze pads frequently during this time.
  • Limited Mouth Opening: You may have limited ability to open your mouth wide, which can make it difficult to breathe through your mouth, affecting your sleep quality.
  • Medication: Pain medications prescribed after the surgery can have side effects, including drowsiness or nausea, which can also impact your sleep.

Given these challenges, it’s crucial to find strategies that help you rest and recover effectively.

Tips for Sleeping After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Follow Post-Operative Instructions

First and foremost, follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully. This includes taking any prescribed medications on schedule and changing gauze pads as directed.

Adhering to these guidelines can help manage pain, swelling, and bleeding.

Choose the Right Sleeping Position

Finding a comfortable sleeping position is crucial. Many people find it more comfortable to sleep with their upper body slightly elevated, either with extra pillows or by using a recliner chair. This can help reduce swelling and prevent blood from pooling in the surgical area.

Use Ice Packs

Applying ice packs to your cheeks can help reduce swelling and numb the pain. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth or towel to avoid direct contact with your skin, which could lead to frostbite.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for a smooth recovery. However, be mindful of what you drink. Avoid very hot or very cold beverages, as extreme temperatures can irritate the surgical sites. Stick to lukewarm or room-temperature fluids.

Soft Diet

Your diet should consist of soft, easy-to-chew foods during the initial days of recovery. Opt for items like mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, and soup. Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that could irritate the surgical sites.

Avoid Certain Sleeping Habits

If you’re a habitual snorer or sleep with your mouth wide open, this can be problematic during recovery. Consider using a chin strap or mouth taping to keep your mouth closed while sleeping, but only if recommended by your oral surgeon.

Mindful Medication Use

If your prescribed pain medication makes you drowsy, try to schedule it so that you can take it before bedtime to help you sleep better. However, always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding medication use.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Pain and anxiety can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Consider practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or visualization to calm your mind and body.

Limit Physical Activity

Avoid strenuous physical activities during the initial days of recovery. Resting and allowing your body to heal is essential. Overexerting yourself can lead to increased swelling and discomfort.

Communicate with Your Dentist

If you experience severe pain, persistent bleeding, or any other concerning symptoms that disrupt your sleep or recovery, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist or oral surgeon for guidance.

How Long Will It Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Recovery time can vary from person to person, but in general, you can expect the initial phase of recovery to last about 1-2 weeks. During this time, you may experience pain, swelling, and limited mouth opening.

After the first week, most people start feeling significantly better, but complete healing of the surgical sites can take several weeks to a few months.

Is It Normal to Experience Bleeding During Sleep After the Procedure?

It is normal to experience some bleeding during the first 24-48 hours after wisdom teeth removal, and this may continue during sleep. To manage it, change the gauze pads as directed by your oral surgeon and try sleeping with your head slightly elevated to minimize blood flow to the surgical area.

If bleeding persists or becomes excessive, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Can I Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers Instead of Prescribed Medications?

It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding pain relief. While over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can be effective, your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe specific medications tailored to your needs.

If you have concerns or experience adverse effects from prescribed medication, consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your pain management plan.

All in all, recovering from wisdom teeth removal can be uncomfortable, but with the right strategies and a little patience, you can make the process smoother and get the rest you need.

Remember to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully, choose a comfortable sleeping position, manage pain and swelling, and prioritize a soft diet and hydration. By taking these steps, you can ensure a more comfortable and restful recovery period after your wisdom teeth removal procedure.