You are permitted to shower and bathe after your wisdom tooth extraction. Although it is recommended that you take a hot one instead of a cold one. There are benefits to doing so, so please don’t skip your hygiene routine tonight because of a mere tooth getting pulled!
Benefits of a hot shower and bath
After getting home from your appointment you may want to take a long hot shower or bath.
In fact, we would encourage you to do so 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 wisdom tooth gets taken out. You can visibly see them shivering and quivering right after the procedure. It’s not as if they were wearing less clothing all of a sudden but that they’re experiencing mental shock from undergoing the surgical procedure while wide awake.
How to alleviate the mental shock
If that situation sounds like you, you’d probably want to bundle up on your way home. In addition to that, immediately after getting into your house, you should prepare either a hot shower or a hot bath.
How to decrease the shaking and quivering:
- Prepare a hot bath or shower.
- Let the warm water provide warmth for your body for about 15-20 minutes.
- 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 the nerves down. That should help stop the shaking and quivering or at the very least reduce it. You’ll feel much better afterwards we promise.
Tip: A heated blanket is also not a bad idea for additional warmth after the shower!
Mental shock doesn’t happen to everyone because most of our patients fare pretty well. It occurs in about 1% of our patients so it isn’t that common. 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 as good
If you read the wisdom teeth aftercare instructions closely, you may have noticed that it tells 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 swelling.
You may be thinking if the cold compress will help reduce swelling, why not take a bath?
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 immerse yourself further into cold.
What you want to do is warm up the body instead so that you will 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!
So it is okay to shower?
Yes, 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 while you bathe, it really shouldn’t affect it at all.
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 wash it 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 efforts while you’re showering.
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 and 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.
You are allowed to take a shower or a bath after having the wisdom teeth taken out. It may even be good for you especially if you’re feeling cold after the appointment. By taking a long dip in hot water you can calm your nerves down and warm your body up. That may be just the cure for the traumatic experience that you just went through.
We hope that we’ve answered all of the questions that you may have had in regards to post-operative showering. Just to reiterate, it is fine to do so. It does make sense doesn’t it? Were you expecting to not be able to shower for an entire week? We wouldn’t wish that upon you or anyone who would be near you during that time!
Also since we’re on the topic of hygiene, do you remember if you’re supposed to brush your teeth or not after the extraction? If not, you should review the wisdom teeth aftercare protocol and familiarize yourself with what you can and can’t do.