10 Mom-Approved Tips for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Getting wisdom teeth removed seems to be a rite of passage for teenagers. Most have already had extensive dental work and orthodontics, and keeping that straight smile and maintaining good oral health by removing those pesky wisdom teeth is usually the next step. Here are some tips for those supporting their teens or young adult children as they undergo this very common oral surgery.

wisdom tooth survival tips

10 Mom-Approved Tips for Surviving Wisdom Teeth Removal


1. Pineapple juice helps with bruising and swelling

Weird as it is, many parents swear by "dole"ing {see what I did there!} the pineapple juice BEFORE surgery. It will help keep swelling and bruising at bay. Have your teens or young adults drink pineapple juice 2-3 days before a few times a day and see if it helps. Couldn't hurt, right?

2. Stay away from straws

Sucking on a straw can break the clots where the teeth were removed and cause dry socket. 

3. Avoid opioids if you can

Young adults who take opioids after surgery are 3x's more likely to become long-term users. Ask for alternative pain medication. Exparel is what was available from our oral surgeon. It's given once during surgery and works to manage the pain for the first few days after surgery. 

4. Stay on top of pain medication

Your doctor will advise you on a safe dosage, but pain can typically be managed with ibuprofen or Motrin. Set a timer on your phone to help you remember when it's time for the next dose.

tips for wisdom tooth removal

5. Ice!

Using ice for about 20 minutes at a time every few hours will help reduce the swelling and any pain that comes with swelling. Parents swear by this ice pack! Within a day or two, you can probably ditch the ice pack. 

You can also make a Ziploc gel ice pack using 1 cup of alcohol with 2 cups of water. Put the bag with liquid inside another Ziploc bag to make sure it doesn't spill and freeze. 

6. Elevate the head

Again, swelling can become your worst nightmare, elevating the head can help decrease swelling and make your teen more comfortable.

7. Make a saltwater rinse

My mom used to have me gargle with saltwater anytime I was sick. Sharing this saltwater rinse may bring back memories of your childhood was anything like mine! Add 1/2 tsp of salt to a glass of warm water, swish it around {don't swallow!} for about 15-30 seconds, and then spit. Don't rinse too hard, more of a swish, because you could open those sockets prolonging healing and making recovery more painful.

8. Serve soft foods

Stock up on applesauce, pudding, popsicles, ice cream, and mashed potatoes. Soft foods will be all your kiddo can eat for a few days, so make sure you have plenty of variation on hand because eating the same thing will get old real fast for some.

9. Check out the surgeon's website

Your oral surgeon will typically have an FAQ section or offer tips for pain management. You'll probably find lots of useful information on their website and it will help you put your mind at ease.

10. Take a social media break

Your kids will likely still be pretty strung out after oral surgery. They may not be interested in using their phones, but just in case, make sure you have them give you their electronic devices before surgery. Then make the parental decision after they sleep it off a bit to decide if they are ready to have it back.



Every patient is different, and every situation will vary, but being prepared and knowing what to expect when it comes to wisdom tooth extraction will help everyone recover quicker. Have you been through this with your kid? I'd love to hear what your experience was like!

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1 comment

Stephanie McGuire said...

Great post! As someone who recently had their wisdom teeth removed, I can attest to the importance of these tips. The ice pack and pain medication were a lifesaver for me during the first few days of recovery. I also found that drinking lots of water and avoiding hard or crunchy foods helped me heal faster. Your suggestion to sleep with your head elevated is also a great one, as it helped me reduce swelling and discomfort. Thanks for sharing these mom-approved tips for wisdom teeth removal!

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