After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Home Instructions After Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and complications such as infection and swelling can be minimized if these instructions are followed carefully.
- Immediately Following Surgery
- Keep the mouth clean
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Other Complications
We're Here To Help!
Call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
Immediately Following Surgery
- The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half-hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
- Avoid vigorous mouth rinsing and/or touching the wound area following surgery. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
- If possible, take the prescribed pain medications prior to feeling discomfort. Although local anesthesia can last several hours after the procedure, it is best to block pain before it starts.
- Restrict your activities on the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
- Place an ice pack on one side of the face and switch sides every 15 minutes for the first few hours. Refer to the section on swelling for a more thorough explanation.
Some bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first gently rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened black tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the black tea helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, try to remain relaxed, sit upright, swallow normally and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.
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 healing. Swelling is not typically appeared 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 an ice pack. We recommend placing one ice pack on one side of the lower jaw for 15 minutes, then switching sides. 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.
For moderate pain, take up to 600mg of ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) every six hours. The total daily dose should not exceed 3200mg for an adult. As an alternative or supplement, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ideally, ibuprofen and Tylenol are not taken at the same time, but on a staggered schedule to achieve more consistent pain relief. Consult our practice for individuals under 18.
For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medications if you are allergic to them, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it. 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 office.
After general anesthetic or IV sedation, liquids should initially be consumed. Drink from a glass and do not use straws. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft (up to the consistency of mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs) by chewing away form the surgical sites. A high calorie, high protein intake is very important. Our staff can provide suggested diet instructions. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss any meals. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort and heal faster if you continue to eat.
CAUTION: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy. If you are lying down following surgery, make sure you sit up for one minute before standing.
Keep the mouth clean
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day, especially after eating, with a teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water.
Use of an irrigation syringe can be started 5 days aft the procedure.
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 any other unfavorable reaction and contact our office immediately. Call the office if you have any questions.
Nausea and Vomiting
In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour, including the prescribed medicine. You should then sip on coke, tea, or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine. In some cases, anti-nausea medication will be prescribed.
If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As reviewed in your consultation, this is usually temporary in nature. You should be aware that if your lip or tongue is numb, you could bite it and not feel the sensation. Call Dr. Albanese if you have any questions.
Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office. Tylenol or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
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; they are the bony walls that supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by Dr. Albanese.
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.
Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in 2-3 days.
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.
Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help to heal. Sometimes they become dislodged. This is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures will be removed approximately one week after surgery. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is usually no discomfort associated with this procedure.
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur, call our office for instructions.
There will be a void where the tooth was removed. The void will fill in with new tissue gradually over the next month. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean, especially after meals, with salt water rinses or a toothbrush.
Remember that each case is unique. Please call to discuss any problems with Dr. Albanese so that we can most efficiently take care of any needs that arise.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain near the ear may occur 2-3 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.
If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get lightheaded, stop exercising.
We're Here To Help!
Call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.