Wisdom Teeth Wisdom... and Inhalers

I had two wisdom teeth removed in mid-February. I was dreading the recovery more than the actual extraction itself, seriously. (This says a lot given my general dental anxieties which are rooted in my small mouth/sinuses/asthma cough/gag reflex, and not actually any fear of the dentist himself or the things he and his people do).

Precautionary measures

Of course, after you get your wisdom teeth pulled, 5 people will give you unsolicited advice on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter regarding DON’T USE A STRAW/NO STRAWS! Seriously, I love y’all, but c’mon. My dentist gave me that instruction on both a gauze packet envelope and a page-and-a-half handout.

However, one transfer of that knowledge I’d only thought of because of my friend D, is how that translates to asthma inhalers.

Oh yeah, wait for it.

Inhalers and wisdom tooth extractions

Let's start with a tiny bit of gore. It’s fine, don’t worry. So after they pull your teeth out, especially if you don’t need stitches like I didn’t, you apply gauze for hours afterward to apply pressure to the “wound,” so to speak, and help the blood clot form. This blood clot sits in the tooth socket for a while and ensures things heal properly. (Google can tell you what ickiness can happen if that blood clot gets dislodged.)

The reason you can’t use a straw after an extraction is the potential to suck this clot out. Which is not good.

And you know what’s kind of like a straw? A dry powder inhaler that requires a strong forceful inhalation, thus creating this similar sort of pressure change inside your mouth.

Using an asthma inhaler after having your wisdom teeth taken out

When my friend D got her wisdom teeth removed, she got her doctor to swap her to metered-dose inhalers from dry-powder breath-actuated ones for the initial recovery period. This is generally good advice to keep things healing properly in your mouth and avoid accidentally dislodging the blood clot. While you may be on slightly different meds, the effect should be roughly the same no matter the device you are using.1

It’s a good idea to have this conversation with your dentist and/or doctor before your wisdom tooth extraction to ensure things go smoothly. It may not be a problem, but it could be better to act out of an abundance of caution. (Like I am, subsisting on soft foods potentially longer than I need to… Although I am only at day 4.5 now, and while I’m craving salt, I am very much enjoying rainbow sherbet.)

Seriously. If it weren’t for D, I would never have thought of this until I was standing there with two fewer teeth and a dry powder inhaler in my hand having zero idea what to do. Fortunately, I’m on all metered-dose inhalers so it’s a non-issue for me, but a good thing to keep in mind if you’re getting wisdom teeth or others extracted!

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