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 complications can be minimized if these instructions are followed carefully.
Immediately Following Surgery
- The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place changing it every 20-30 minutes for the first few hours.
- 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.
- Take the prescribed pain medications prior to your numbness wearing off. This will help prevent the onset of any discomfort following the procedure.
- Restricted activities for 2-3 days following surgery, resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
- Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for a more thorough explanation.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. If bleeding continues then place a gauze pad over the area and bite firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. To minimize further bleeding,avoid any excessive activity. If bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.
The swelling is normal and to be expected. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery. The swelling may 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. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake. After 24 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.
For moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken four times daily, not to exceed 3200mg daily for an adult. Consult our practice for individuals under 18. Do not take the two medications at the same time.
For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication 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 soft foods that can be swallowed with little to no chewing should be consumed until any numbness is gone. Once the patient’s numbness has subsided soft foods should be eaten for 2-3 days. Drink from a glass and do not use straws or drink from a bottled beverage for the first 24 hours. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. Our staff can provide suggested diet instructions. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. 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 3-4 times a day, especially after eating, with a teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water.
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.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics may 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 start by sipping clear fluids such as Sprite, 7-up or Gatorade. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin eating a soft diet and the prescribed medicine.
- If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. 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. Cowan 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 any fever.
- You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You could get light headed from low blood sugar or medications. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute before getting up.
- Occasionally, patients may feel a sharp area in the mouth with their tongue. These are not roots, these areas usually smooth out on their own. If not, they can be removed by Dr. Cowan.
- 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 which will resolve in time. Massaging the jaw will help.
Sometimes sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. The sutures will dissolve on their own typically withing 7-10 days. The salt water rinses will help with this.
Discomfort and swelling are most noticeable in the 2-3 days immediately following the 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.
Your case is unique, no two mouths are alike. Discuss any problems with the our staff or Dr. Cowan
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle and do not brush the surgical sites.
A dry socket is when the blood clot dislodges prematurely from the socket. Symptoms of this include a throbbing/aching pain that can radiate up to the ear or down through the jaw usually occuring 5-7 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.