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Showering After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Updated: 1 day ago

You can shower and take a bath after your wisdom teeth extraction but it is recommended that you should take a hot one rather than a cold one. There are benefits in taking a hot shower or hot bath after removing the third molars so don't skip it.


Shower
Shower

Benefits of a hot shower and bath

We recommend taking a hot shower or bath because it can be relaxing, warm you up, and calm your nerves down after the surgery. Needless to say, the wisdom tooth removal was probably more excitement than you could've asked for in a single day.


In our experience, we do have some patients who are visibly shaken up after the extraction. You can visibly see them shivering and quivering right after the procedure.


They are not shivering because they're actually cold but rather its due to mental shock. They aren't cold because they are wearing less clothing but they're shaking from being in shock from undergoing the surgical procedure while wide awake.


How to alleviate the mental shock

One of the best ways to alleviate the mental shock, shaking and quivering is taking a hot shower or a hot bath.


How to decrease the shaking and quivering:

  1. Prepare a hot bath or shower.

  2. Let the warm water provide warmth for your body for about 15-20 minutes.

  3. Don't stay in for too long because the excessive heat can be detrimental.

Essentially, you're immersing yourself in the hot water and letting it warm you up to calm your nerves down. That should help stop the shaking and quivering or at the very least reduce it. You should feel much better afterwards once your body warms up.


Tip: A heated blanket is also a great idea for additional warmth after the shower! That is if you still feel cold afterwards.


heated blanket
heated blanket

This type of shock doesn't happen to everyone because most of our patients go home and make it through the night uneventfully.


This phenomenon probably occurs in about 1% of our patients so it isn't that common for us as well. Nonetheless, do not panic and think that something is wrong, your body is simply trying to process what you just went through.


Even if you're not experiencing shock, taking a long hot bath will still provide mental relief.


Why cold showers and baths are not beneficial

Wisdom teeth aftercare often instruct you to use a cold compress. By placing an ice pack on the affected side of your face it will help to numb the pain and reduce the facial swelling.


You may be thinking if the cold compress will help reduce the swelling, why not take a cold bath or cold shower?


We applaud you for making that connection and it is indeed true that using a cold compress will help reduce facial swelling. Technically you can submerge yourself in a cold shower or cold bath and that may help to prevent swelling but it isn't the best idea after having the wisdom teeth taken out.


As we explained in the previous section, some patients experience psychological shock after the procedure. They'll be shivering, quivering, and shaking as if they were cold. If your body is perceiving itself as already being cold, it would not be a good idea to submerge yourself further into the cold.


What you want to do is warm your body instead so that you can decrease the shaking.


Aside from that it is really unnecessary for you to dump your entire body into cold water. Only your face is swollen from the wisdom tooth procedure. You simply need to place a cold compress on just that part and not your entire body!


Showering is okay after wisdom teeth

There is no harm that will come to you from showering after your appointment. For the first three hours you are most likely biting on gauze to help stop the bleeding. As long as you keep your mouth closed and stay biting while you bathe, it really shouldn't affect the bleeding at all.


Gauze
Gauze

Just make sure you're extra careful and gentle while you're washing your face. The area can be very sore and tender from the procedure so scrub gently.


We do recommend placing a new gauze in your mouth prior to hopping into the shower. Remember that you're supposed to bite down for about 3 hours straight or until it stops bleeding. You don't want to interrupt your hemostasis efforts while you're showering.


In case you forgot how to use gauze, here is a video with instructions:




Last but not least, you know that your wisdom tooth recovery can take a few days right? Did you really think that it would be okay to not shower or bathe for that long? Of course not.


Can I go swim after wisdom teeth?

While it is fine for you to be in water after having the third molars taken out, we would advise against swimming afterwards. You're not supposed to exercise because swimming will interrupt your gauze biting.

  • No exercising. You're forbidden from exercising on the day after your wisdom tooth procedure. This is especially true for activities which get your heart rate up. It is detrimental to have your heart pumping because it will encourage bleeding from your socket. Swimming will get your heart racing since it does count as aerobic exercise.

  • It interrupts using gauze. When you swim you do have to come up for air and most people breathe through their mouth. You know you're supposed to continually bite on gauze and apply pressure to the wound right? If you keep opening your mouth you won't be able to get the bleeding to stop.

Therefore the verdict is that you're not supposed to go swimming after your third molars.


Takeaway

You are allowed to take a shower or a bath after having the wisdom teeth taken out. It's probably beneficial for you especially if you're feeling cold after the appointment. By immersing yourself in hot water you can calm your nerves and warm your body up. That may be just the cure for the traumatic oral surgery procedure you went through. After all of this can you can go to sleep and begin your recovery journey.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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