Post-Operative Instructions

The removal of impacted wisdom teeth and surgical extraction of teeth is quite different from extraction of erupted teeth. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:

  • The surgical area will swell.
  • Swelling peaks on the 2nd or 3rd post-operative day
  • Trismus (stiffness) of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days.
  • You may have a slight earache.
  • A sore throat may develop.
  • Your other teeth may ache temporarily. This is referred pain and is a temporary condition.
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched out they may dry and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with cream or ointment.
  • There will be a space where the tooth was removed. After 24 hours this area should be rinsed following meals with warm salt water until it is healed. This cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue.
  • There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24 to 48 hours.
  • It is not unusual to develop bruising in the area of an extraction.
  • Please take all prescriptions as directed.

Women please note: Some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your pharmacist.

  • A certain amount of bleeding, pain, and swelling is normal. Reduce your activity as much as possible for several hours. Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for 24 hours. These activities may hinder formation of a blood clot which is necessary for proper healing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. (Do not use a straw)
  • We suggest that you do not smoke for at least 5 days after surgery. Nicotine may break down the blood clot and cause a “dry-socket”.
  • Do not be alarmed if your vision is blurred for a time following anesthesia or if a “black and blue” bruise should appear at the site of an injection. The arm also may be bruised, swollen and tender to touch due to the IV.

To control bleeding

Immediately following procedure keep steady pressure on the bleeding area by biting firmly on the gauze. Pressure helps reduce bleeding and permits formation of a clot in the tooth socket. Gently remove the compress after the local anesthesia has worn off and normal feeling has returned. . If bleeding persists, a moist tea bag should be placed in the area of bleeding and bite firmly for one hour straight. This will help to form a clot. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding still persists call our office.

After 24 hours some oozing of blood may persist. If necessary, resume use of moist tea bags. After bleeding has stopped, cautiously resume oral hygiene.

To relieve pain

Immediately following the procedure begin taking medication as directed by your doctor to minimize discomfort when the anesthesia wears off and feeling is back to normal. Application of an ice bag can also help relieve discomfort.

After 24 hours, continue to take your medication if pain persists, and use an ice bag if needed. For mild discomfort take Tylenol or Ibuprofen every three to four hours.

To minimize swelling

Immediately following procedure apply an ice bag over the affected area. Use 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for 24 hours to help prevent excessive swelling and discomfort. If an ice bag is unavailable, simply fill a heavy plastic bag with crushed ice. Tie end securely and cover with a soft cloth to avoid skin irritation.

After 24 hours it should not be necessary to continue with cold applications. You may expect swelling for 10 days to two weeks and a fever of 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the muscles of the jaw become stiff, chewing gum at intervals will help relax the muscles, as well as the use of warm, moist heat to the outside of your face over these muscles.

Oral Hygiene

For the first twenty-four hours after surgery: rinse the mouth gently with a solution of one-half teaspoonful of salt dissolved in a glass of water. Rinsing is important because it removes food particles and debris from the socket area and thus helps prevent infection and promote healing. You may brush the tongue to keep bacteria growth down, but be careful not to disturb the extraction site. After twenty four hours: Resume your regular tooth brushing, but avoid disturbing the surgical site so as not to loosen or remove the blood clot.

Diet

Have your meals at the usual time. Eat soft, nutritious foods and drink plenty of liquids with meals and in between. Have what you wish, but be careful not to disturb the blood clot. Add solid foods to your diet as soon as you are comfortable with chewing.

In case of problems

You should experience minimal difficulty if you follow the instructions and suggestions as outlined, but if you should have any problems such as excessive bleeding, pain or difficulty in opening your mouth, call our office immediately for further instructions or additional treatment.

Follow-up visit

It is often advisable to return for a postoperative visit to make certain healing is progressing satisfactorily. In the meantime, maintain a healthful diet, observe rules for proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist for regular checkups.