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Dec 10 2017
by Katie Taylor

The College Student's Guide to Having Wisdom Teeth Removed

By Katie Taylor - Dec 10 2017

If you're getting your wisdom teeth removed over winter break, it can be weird and you might not know exactly what to expect, but that's perfectly normal. Here's a list of advice that might make the recovery process and the idea of having surgery a little less daunting because, frankly, there's no need to be nervous about it.

1. Don’t make any plans for a few days after surgery.

Depending on how it goes, you might feel fine the day after you get your wisdom teeth removed, or you might not want to leave the house for days. Don’t make plans until you know how you’re feeling because it’s important to take it easy and not push yourself while you’re recovering.

2. Make soft foods.

It’s classic advice that you hear all the time, but for a reason. Especially if you have lower wisdom teeth being removed, your jaw is probably going to be pretty sore for a few days. It’s also important to eat more “real” foods, like mashed potatoes or pasta, and not just ice cream and milkshakes. It’ll really help to make this stuff in advance so you don’t have to worry about cooking when all you want to do is lay in bed.

3. Bulk up your Netflix watch list.

You’re going to be out for a few days, so it’s a perfect excuse to be lazy and watch that documentary you’ve been meaning to see, or start a show that you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. Pro tip: if you’re going to start a show, don’t do it until the anesthesia wears off, otherwise you might not remember the beginning.

4. Know what to expect.

If it makes you feel more comfortable, do a little research on the procedure and what to expect before you go in. At the very least, you should know which wisdom teeth you’re getting out and how long your doctor thinks it’ll take you to recover because that’s different for everyone.

5. Take videos.

The most iconic part of wisdom tooth removal is the funny videos of people when they’re still feeling the effects of anesthesia. Some people are really uncomfortable with having videos taken when they’re like this, in which case let your family and friends know ahead of time, but personally, I think the videos of me after my surgery are absolutely hilarious.

6. Get a lot of sleep.

After surgery, you need to treat your body basically how you would if you had a bad cold, and lots of rest is definitely part of that. For the first few days at least, take lots of naps and don’t drink anything with too much caffeine just because you feel sleepy. Nap when you need to, because you might not be able to sleep through the first few nights after surgery if you wake up needing painkillers or ice.

7. Eat a lot of healthy food.

If you don’t eat healthy and get the proper nutrients you need after your surgery, your body will have a hard time recovering. It can be hard to remember to eat when you need to because all the painkillers might kill your appetite, but a rule of thumb is to eat food that’s soft and relatively healthy (aka not ice cream for every meal) every time you have to take your medicine.

8. Adjust your plans as needed.

Like I mentioned earlier, you might feel fine a day after surgery, or you might be feeling crummy for days. The important part is to be flexible because your recovery will probably include unexpected obstacles. For example, I couldn’t bare to eat any cold food after my wisdom teeth surgery. We had a lot of ice cream, smoothies and yogurt ready to go, but I couldn’t eat any of it. I didn’t expect this at all, but we just made more warm foods that I wanted to eat, and it worked out fine.

9. Be sure to have a solid support system.

This is especially important not just to have someone to drive you home, but to have people by your side even just to hang out will definitely make you feel better. It can feel weird to basically just lay in bed eating soft foods and watching Netflix for a few days, but if you have friends come and visit you, it’ll definitely brighten your mood.

A lot of people don't know what to expect after their wisdom teeth surgeries, but the main point is just to take it easy and let your body recover. Don't push yourself, and take some time to be lazy and give yourself a little TLC for a few days, and you'll be back to normal in no time.

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Katie Taylor - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Katie Taylor is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business and minoring in Spanish. In her free time, you can find her instagramming her dog, baking anything with chocolate, or watching Game of Thrones.

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