After Wisdom Teeth Removal

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.

Additional Notes

  • 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.

Post-Procedure Notes

  • 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.

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