Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure that requires very specific post-operative care. If you follow the guidelines below, you will reduce pain, unnecessary swelling, and the chance of other complications.
Right After Surgery
- Keep gauze pad on area for 30 minutes, then remove and throw away; change gauze every 15 minutes as needed.
- Do not rinse vigorously or touch the wound; this will keep the formed blood clot from dislodging, leading to heavier bleeding.
- Cease normal physical activity until you feel comfortable resuming.
- Place ice packs on the affected cheek to help reduce swelling.
- A certain amount of bleeding is common following surgery.
- Control bleeding by gently rinsing your mouth and then placing gauze over the area for 30 minutes.
- Bite on a moistened tea bag if bleeding continues; the tannic acid in the tea contracts the blood vessels in the area, promoting the formation of a blood clot.
- Do not sit upright and avoid exercise until you are comfortable (no bleeding).
- Call our office if your wound is still bleeding after following these instructions.
- Some swelling of the affected area (including mouth, eyes, and cheeks) is common after surgery.
- Swelling usually does not become noticeable until 2-3 days after the procedure.
- Regular application of ice bags to the swollen area generally helps reduce existing swelling and prevent additional swelling.
- Fill two baggies with ice and apply to the affected side of the face; use continuously while awake; ice treatment loses its effectiveness after 36 hours.
- Do not be alarmed if your swelling/jaw stiffness persists for a few days-- this is a common bodily reaction to surgery.
Take pain medicine as soon as you feel the anesthetic wearing off; follow the pain guidelines below:
- Moderate pain: 1 to 2 Extra Strength Tylenol every 3-4 hours OR 2-3 200mg Ibuprofen tablets every 3-4 hours as needed
- Severe pain: use medication prescribed by your doctor as directed
- Prescribed pain medication will make you groggy-- do not operate any motor vehicles/heavy machinery and avoid alcohol.
- Pain should reduce a bit every day; if your pain does not subside, please call our office.
- You should only consume liquids for a short period of time after general/IV sedation.
- Drink from a glass; do not use straws, as the sucking motion can dislodge blood clots, leading to more severe bleeding.
- Consume high calorie and high protein meals to maintain your strength and energy after surgery; chew only on the non-affected side of the mouth.
- Prevent dehydration by drinking 5-6 glasses of liquid per day.
Cleaning the Mouth
- Do not rise your mouth until the day after surgery.
- Brush your teeth the night after surgery, but only very gently; rinse gently after brushing.
- Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water 5-6 times per day (specifically after eating).
- Discoloration of the skin (black, green, yellow, blue) is common after surgery; it is a result of blood spreading beneath facial tissue.
- Discoloration usually lasts 2-3 days after surgery and can be reduced by the use of moist heat applied to the discolored area.
- Take prescribed antibiotics as directed by your doctor-- these will help reduce the chance of infection.
- Discontinue use of antibiotics should you develop a rash or any other irregular condition-- call our office with any questions.
- If you are nauseous and/or vomiting after surgery, do not take anything orally for at least one hour (including your prescribed medicine).
- Slowly drink soda, ginger ale, or tea over the span of a 15 minute period until the nausea subsides.
- Eat solid food (and take your prescribed medicine) when you are no longer nauseous.
- Do not be alarmed by numbness in the chin, tongue, or lips-- this is common after surgery; be careful not to bite your tongue or lip while numb.
- Temperature elevation after surgery is normal; if the increase in temperature persists, take Ibuprofen or Tylenol as directed to reduce fever.
- Do not stand quickly after lying down; dizziness from dehydration, pain medicine, and hunger can occur should you stand too quickly.
- Keep your lips moist to avoid drying and cracking them while recovering.
- A sore throat/stiff jaw is a common occurrence after surgery; these should be gone in 2-3 days after surgery.
- Do not become alarmed if your sutures break loose, simply remove and discard.
- There will be a cavity in your mouth where your tooth was removed; be careful to gently rinse the area until you feel the tissue reforming in the area.
- If you experience a “dry socket,” please call our office.