When You Can’t Take Narcotics: Easing Pain After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Many times, dentists will prescribe narcotic pain relievers, like codeine or hydrocodone, to patients to ease the pain after wisdom tooth removal surgery. However, if you can’t or prefer not to take these pain relievers, there are other methods you can rely on to stay comfortable while you heal.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

If you can take over-the-counter pain relievers, follow these tips to ensure they’re as effective as possible for managing your pain:

  • Choose an NSAID pain reliever, like ibuprofen or naproxen, over a non-NSAID pain reliever like acetaminophen. NSAIDS relieve pain and inflammation, which will make you far more comfortable after wisdom tooth removal surgery.
  • Avoid taking aspirin to ease your pain. It thins the blood and may make it harder for your body to form clots where your teeth were removed, increasing your risk of dry socket.
  • Take your pain relievers before the pain becomes unbearable. They tend to be more effective when taken before the pain sets in, rather than after.

To ensure your safety, remember to only take the dose recommended on the bottle, unless instructed otherwise by your dentist or doctor.

Rinse with Salt Water

Dentists will often tell their patients to rinse their mouths with salt water following wisdom tooth extraction because this helps fight infection. However, it’s also an effective means of relieving pain, as the salt draws extra moisture out of your gum tissue, relieving some of the pressure that makes recovering from wisdom tooth surgery so uncomfortable. Prepare a mixture of ½ teaspoon salt water to one cup of warm water. Swish a mouthful around gently for about 30 – 60 seconds. Repeat this process whenever your pain becomes intense; you really can’t rinse with salt water too often.

Sip ice-cold beverages.

Holding ice packs on the outside of your face is a good way to reduce swelling and pain, but you can take this one step further by icing the inside of your mouth. Prepare a nice, cold smoothie or drink, and sip it slowly throughout the day, making sure it makes plenty of contact with the area from which the tooth was removed. Remember not to use a straw, as the sucking may increase your risk of dry socket. Also, don’t use any ingredients in your smoothies that have small seeds that could get stuck in your socket. This includes raspberries and strawberries.

By using over-the-counter pain relievers properly, rinsing with salt water, and sipping cold beverages, you should be able to manage the pain associated with wisdom tooth removal quite effectively without narcotic pain relievers.

For more information, contact a group like Higson Dental Group.

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