Although wisdom teeth removal is considered minor surgery, it remains a surgical procedure and involves some recovery period. Among the many side effects that many people struggle with during the recovery is how to sleep comfortably and safely after the extraction of wisdom teeth.
To ensure that you heal quickly, it is important that you adhere to post-operative instructions from your dentist and that includes how you sleep. Sleeping well forms a vital part of your healing process.
Remove Any Gauze
If any gauze is left in the mouth before you go to sleep, you could end up choking on it. Ensure that you carefully remove all the gauze left in your mouth by the dentist before you sleep. So long as about 30 minutes have passed since the wisdom teeth extraction, removing the gauze is safe.
In fact, your dentist will typically advise you to remove the gauze after 30 minutes following the wisdom tooth removal lest you choke on it.
Sleep On Your Back
Unfortunately, the removal of wisdom teeth will affect how you sleep. Although it will depend on how long the recovery period is, you may need to try sleeping on your back for between 3 to 7 days. Sleeping on your stomach or side is not recommended as you might squish your cheeks thus adding more pressure to a sore area.
Sleeping on your back could also direct more blood flow to the affected area through gravity so try sticking to sleeping on your back. Additionally, avoid sleeping on slippery surfaces such as leather couches to prevent hurting yourself and for a restful sleep.
Keep Head Elevated
When sleeping, keep the head elevated with pillows to help keep your upper body at a 45-degree angle. This helps in faster recovery after tooth surgery as blood volume and vessel tone near the extraction site tend to increase when you lie flat, making the wound throb.
For the initial 24 hours, keep your head elevated, sleeping on several pillows. Remember that keeping the head elevated above the level of your feet may help in reducing swelling. You may also consider getting a wedge pillow as it makes sleeping in this elevated position easier.
Although the extraction of wisdom tooth is a common surgical procedure, you may discover that the post-surgical pain may make sleeping difficult. Talk with your oral surgeon or dentist about your expectations and possible complications. And when you get home, follow the above tips on how to sleep after tooth extraction.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.