After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery and wisdom teeth removal are minimal, so not all instructions may apply. However, if you have any questions, follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification. 

Immediately Following Surgery

  • Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs placed over the surgical areas, ensuring they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled. If active bleeding persists, place new gauze over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may be changed as necessary (every 30 to 40 minutes).
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing and/or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged. PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you get home and get comfortable. If you take the first dose before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better. 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 case of a rash or other unfavorable reaction and contact our office immediately. Your surgical assistant will explain this in detail after surgery. 
  • Restrict your activities on the day of surgery and if you have had general anesthesia, do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours. We recommend 2-3 days of relaxing, taking it easy, and a week before you are back to full physical activities such as working out.
  • Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Eat nourishing foods after surgery to help with the healing process. Confine intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream, etc.) while you are numb. Over the next several days, you may gradually progress to solids foods.

Bleeding

A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon.  Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs placed over the surgical areas, ensuring they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled. If active bleeding persists, place new gauze over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may be changed as necessary (every 30 to 40 minutes). Bleeding should never be severe. If so, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between the teeth only and are not exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning the packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed damp-dry, and wrapped in moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes. If bleeding does not subside, call our North Oaks office for further instructions: North Oaks Oral Surgery Office Phone Number 651-482-0065.

Swelling

The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two baggies filled with ice, or ice packs, should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Thirty-six hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.

Pain

For moderate pain, Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) 600mg (over-the-counter comes in 200mg tablets) can be taken every 6 hours.  You may also have a prescription for pain medication. Your doctor and surgical assistant will give you specific instructions on how you should alternate medications. Consult our practice for individuals under 18. Do not take the two medications at the same time. 

Do not take any of the above medications if you are allergic to them or have been instructed by your doctor not to take them. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention, and you should call the North Oaks office: North Oaks Oral Surgery Office Phone Number 651-482-0065.

Nausea

Nausea is not uncommon after surgery. Often pain medications are the cause. Nausea can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food and taking the pill with a large volume of water. Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize dosing of pain medications, but call us if you do not feel better. Classic Coca-Cola may help with nausea.

Diet

Eat nourishing foods after surgery to help with the healing process. Confine intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream, etc.) while you are numb. Over the next several days, you may gradually progress to solids foods. It is best to avoid foods like nuts, chips, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas. Do not use straws for the first few days after surgery.

Instructions for the second & third days

Mouth Rinses

Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. If you were prescribed an oral rinse, use it as instructed. Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking 5 minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat two to three times daily.

Brushing

Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.

Discoloration

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 discoloration removal.

Other Complications

  • You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You could get lightheaded from low blood sugar or medications. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute before getting up.
  • Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots but the bony walls that supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed. 
  • If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as vaseline.
  • Stiffness (Trismus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.

Finally

Normal healing should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable, and there is usually some swelling. On the third day, you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be a gradual, steady improvement.  

It is our desire that your recovery is as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you. If you have any questions about your progress, a 24-hour answering service is available to contact the doctor on call after hours.

Have any questions about Wisdom Teeth or the process? We have compiled a collection of commonly asked questions for your convenience, or you can call our North Oaks office: North Oaks Oral Surgery Office Phone Number 651-482-0065 or our Roseville office: Roseville Office Phone Number 651-636-2420 if you have any questions.

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday:   7:45 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday:   7:45 AM - 2:30 PM