After Wisdom Tooth Removal

The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.


Some bleeding on the day of surgery is normal. The gauze sponges placed when you left the office should remain in place with firm biting pressure for 45-60 minutes. Generally this will control bleeding. If significant oozing or bleeding persists, replace the gauze sponges for additional periods of 30-60 minutes. If you run out of gauze and bleeding persists, you may use a moistened tea bag in a similar fashion. Should bleeding begin again once it has stopped, repeat the above. Once bleeding has stopped do no disturb the area.


Some pain is expected following any surgical procedure. Medication has been prescribed that should provide relief. You should start this medication before the anesthetic wears off and take it as directed. Do not attempt to drive or operate hazardous machinery or participate in activity that requires physical effort or mental alertness while taking this medication. Use of low dose Ibuprofen or Tylenol between prescription dosages will increase your comfort and may be used when the stronger pain medication is no longer necessary.


Some swelling is expected following surgery. Swelling will reach its maximum 1-2 days after surgery and then start to go down after that. Use of an ice bag or a wet and nearly frozen wash cloth over the cheek in the surgical area will help minimize swelling. Applying the ice pack on and then off for 15-30 minutes at a time for the first 1-2 days after surgery. Beginning 2 days after surgery, the use of moist heat packs or hot wet wash cloths and warm salt water for soaking in the mouth will help resolve swelling and jaw stiffness. Apply heat for 15-30 minutes at a time, at least 3-4 times daily until you have returned to normal.


Avoid nausea by treating your system gently. DO NOT take medication on an empty stomach. Begin taking fluids or bland soft foods as soon as possible. Start with small quantities, a little at a time. Consume whatever is generally agreeable to you. Do not take medication on an empty stomach and do not take several different medications all at once. Spread them out over time so as to not upset your stomach. If a medication is causing a problem, this will help sort out which medication is responsible. If nausea develops and persists you may need to suspend all medication or be prescribed special medication to help control the problem.


Consume whatever generally is agreeable to you. To AVOID biting or chewing the tongue and lips, do not try to chew solid food until feeling has returned to the area. Avoid nuts, crackers and chips. DO NOT use straws. Otherwise there are no dietary restrictions. However, your jaws may be stiff, normal opening may be reduced and chewing may be uncomfortable. In this case be sure to get adequate amounts of fluids and soft food to ensure good nutrition and hydration.


No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day especially after eating with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.


In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.


If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.


DO NOT rinse vigorously, spit, gargle, use a straw or create commotion near the surgical site. These activities may cause bleeding to start or may cause loss of blood clots and development of dry sockets. You may clear your mouth of blood by taking a mouth full of ice water or mouthwash, rolling your head from side to side, and then lean over the sink letting the fluid fall out of your mouth.

DO NOT smoke or use smokeless tobacco. These activities may cause bleeding to start, may cause loss of blood clots and the development of dry sockets. They may also contribute to infection or poor healing in the surgery sites.

Take your prescribed medicine as directed. Also continue any other medication your physician may have prescribed. Try not to take medication all at one time. This may upset your stomach. If you have had an IV Sedation or General Anesthesia, or are taking strong pain medication do not drive or operate hazardous equipment or engage in activities that require physical stress or mental alertness for at least 24 hours after surgery.

You may brush and floss your teeth. Minimize the amount of toothpaste you use and try not to swish, rinse and spit. You may clear your mouth by taking a mouthful of water or mouthwash, rolling your head from side to side and then lean over the sink and let the fluid fall out of your mouth. Brush your tongue also.

Sutures are often placed the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm. The sutures will dissolve approximately one week after surgery.

Have someone stay with you following surgery to help you with your needs. Do not get up too quickly or you may experience dizziness or fainting spells.

While reclining after your surgery, cover your pillow with a towel. If you drool or ooze, the clean-up will be easier.

If you are inactive, it is important to take frequent deep breaths and to passively exercise your legs.


1. You have any questions or problems.

2. Uncontrollable bleeding occurs.

3. You experience discomfort that is not relieved by your medication.

4. Swelling develops or increases later than 2 or 3 days after surgery.

5. You develop an elevated temperature.

6. You think you are having an adverse reaction to any prescribed medication.