Taking care of your teen post wisdom teeth removal isn’t always easy. Although the procedure is common, we all react differently to the experience. Oftentimes, it is painful, and they do not know how to respond due to the impacts of stress. Emotions impact our ability to think clearly during situations that cause stress, such as pain. In other words, teens may need help with emotional regulation.
As caregivers, we are here to guide them through the process of receiving and healing after wisdom teeth removal. Here are some tips to help prepare
1. Knowledge is power after wisdom teeth removal. Knowing the facts early will give your teen time to process and prepare for a new experience. Let your child know what to look for before, during, and after the extraction. Taking away the mystery empowers your teen to take an active role in the healing process. It is better to be hyper-vigilant than not. For example, your teen should expect swelling and bleeding. Have a cold pack on hand to help the swelling over the days prior, and keep pressure on the wound to stop bleeding. Your teen needs to know what is normal and not normal to help you help them to recover.
2. Know what foods your teen can eat. Although your teen should not eat for 2 hours post extraction (your dentist will give instructions for you to follow), be prepared for the follow-up diet. After you explain to your teen what they can and cannot eat, go shopping together.
Look for soft foods that are cool, which will sooth their inflamed gums. Yogurt, ice cream, Jell-O, and popsicles are popular choices. These foods are not the best in terms of nutritional content, but they will keep your teen’s body going in the short-term while also helping to heal the gums and reduce swelling.
When your teen begins to feel better, re-introduce foods like mashed potatoes and warm soup. After 2-3 days, your teen can go back to eating normally. During the process, they should avoid crunchy foods, which can get into the sockets or even scratch the gums.
3. Teach your teen how to rinse their mouth appropriately. Some people think that brushing your teeth hard is the best way to remove plaque and clean the mouth. The same belief is often common when people are trying to keep their mouths clean after oral surgery.
Explain to your teen that rinsing gently after a few days is the best choice for healing gums, as you are less likely to dislodge your blood clot and start bleeding again. Although they can’t rinse, they can still gently brush their teeth away from the wounded area.
4. Help your teen slow down. For some teens, taking time to recover after a surgery is difficult. Encourage your teen to take it slow and allow his/her body to heal.
Stock up on books, video games, movies, crafts, and coloring books. Having non-strenuous activities prepared for your teen will help keep them comfortable and content while healing.