Sleeping after a regular extraction can be difficult but after a wisdom tooth removal? That a whole other ballgame. So, what can you do if your extraction site starts throbbing and keeping you awake at night? In this article we will discuss how to sleep after wisdom teeth removal and give you a few tips that you can use to hasten the healing process so that things will get back to normal as soon as possible.
How should I sleep after wisdom teeth removal?
This, of course, is our first consideration. You may not have realized it before now, but sleeping certain ways can be painful. This is because the elevation that you are currently employing when you attempt to sleep may be increasing the blood pressure in your head. The increased blood pressure results in extra pressure on the area where a clot is forming and results in pain and discomfort. Pressure on your cheeks is also bad, so for the next 3 to 7 days you will want to make sure that you are sleeping on your back. Try adjusting the elevation of your head as well through the rearrangement of your pillows until you find a comfortable position in which to catch your Z’s.
You definitely should not go to sleep with gauze in your mouth. In fact, gauze is generally only going to be required for the first three hours following your wisdom tooth extraction. Beyond this, gauze is more of a hindrance than a help, as gauze can become affixed to your clot so that when you remove it you inadvertently remove the clot as well. For this reason, stick to using the gauze only to quell the initial bleeding and after that you can put the gauze away.
What if I still cannot sleep after my wisdom tooth removal?
There are a number of over-the-counter medications which you might employ in order to quell the pain in your jaw. Ibuprofen and Tylenol are good, for instance, provided that you do not have a sensitivity or any allergies to these medications. Aspirin is a definite no-no, as it acts as a blood thinner and can retard the process of the clot forming (plus it will increase bleeding). Check with your dentist what they might recommend for pain relief following an extraction, they will have the best recommendations and may even provide you with a prescription to help make sure that you don’t arrive at work exhausted from the healing process.
What if I don’t want to take over-the-counter medicine?
- Ice pack – It’s an oldie but a goody, just holding an icepack to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and to provide a little chilly numbness to the area. Just make sure that you have a barrier of cloth in place, direct application can make the ice pack stick or make the area TOO cold and you want to of course avoid this.
- Mint rinse – 3- 4 drops of mint oil, such as peppermint extract, can be placed in a half a cup of water to use as a soothing rinse. Rinse gently for at least 30 seconds and remember not to spit, as spitting creates pressure which can dislodge the clot. Dribble the rinse out when you are done and enjoy the cool relief.
” If you do this it will quickly numb the area.”
- Clove oil – Soak a cotton ball in clove oil and bite down on it gently in the affected area. We’ll warn you in advance that the taste is very strong so this is not for everyone, but if you do this it will quickly numb the area. Clove oil can be a bit hard on your stomach so try to only use this remedy before bedtime for best results.
- Chamomile or Green tea bag – After making your tea you can let the teabag cool down a little and place it in your mouth in the affected area. The tannins from the tea have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and with the Chamomile you have the added bonus that it will help to make you sleepy.
- Garlic paste – Wrap a shelled garlic clove in foil with a few drops of oil and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes until it softens. Mash this up into a paste and you can put it in your mouth in the affected area. Garlic is great for healing and also has antibacterial properties to help keep the area clean. This is a favored solution for garlic lovers, of course (hey, any excuse to eat garlic!).
What do I do if the pain gets worse?
If the toothache gets worse then you may have a condition known as ‘dry socket’. Dry socket occurs when a clot forms improperly or becomes dislodged, exposing the nerves and sometimes bone left in the now-empty socket. This can be quite painful and if the pain from your extraction site seems to reach into your face and other parts of your head then it is very likely a case of dry socket. It is a good idea to contact your dentist immediately as they can easily fix this but it may add a week to your healing time. Don’t worry, though, your dentist will make sure that the week is not painful!
Today we have discussed how to sleep when you’ve just had your wisdom teeth removed. We hope these tips will help you to get those much needed Z’s so that you’ll be refreshed and ready when it’s time to go back to work. Until then, just be sure to brush lightly and rinse at least 2 – 3 times per day to keep your mouth clean while you heal and you’ll soon be back to normal. We promise!