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After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure that requires some post-operative care to reduce the chance of infection or other complications. Immediately after surgery, a gauze pad will be placed over the extraction site, which should not be removed for at least 45 minutes, and then discarded after that.



Post-operative care is important following oral surgery recorvery may be delayed if this care is neglected.

Some swelling, stiffness, oozing of blood and discomfort is expected after surgery.  It is helpful to have the patient observed by a responsible adult for the duration of the day of the surgery.


It is normal for minor bleeding to occur for the first 24 hours following surgery  If slightly heavier bleeding occurs:

1.      Place a piece of gauze over the surgery site.

2.      Bite firmly on the gauze for at least 30 minutes.  DO NOT chew on it.

3.      If the bleeding continues, call the office

4.      Do not suck on area where surgery occurred or drink through a straw during the first 48 hours.


1.      Don t spit or rinse the surgical area on the day of the surgery..

2.      The day after surgery you may gently rinse with warm salt water.

3.      You may brush your teeth and your tongue after the surgery. Be careful of the surgical site.


You should start with liquids and very soft foods for the first 24-48 hours following the surgery.  If the area feels a little better, you can then move on to a normal diet.  Be careful of chewing on hard foods near the surgical area.


If it is necessary, you will be provided with a prescription for medication.  This can be filled at any pharmacy and used as directed.  Pain may be expected soon after surgery and will reach it's maximum during the first few hours.  It is recommended that the prescriptions be started approximately 1-2 hours after the surgery and continue as directed.

If you do experience swelling, you can place ice over your face for 20-30 minutes at a time during the first 24 hours.  This should help to reduce pain and swelling.  Do not ice after the first 36 hours.


It is normal to experience some degree of swelling.  This swelling may increase over the first 2 days, and then it should start to subside.  Swelling can be somewhat controlled by the use of ice and heat as follows:

Ice: Use ice for the first 12-24 hours, applying it to the cheeks for 20 minutes and removing for 20 minutes alternately.

Heat: Swelling and stiffness may be relieved by warm, moist heat applied to the jaws on the 2nd and 3rd days following the surgery. The stiffness, which can sometimes occur, will usually be relieved by the heat application, the use of chewing gum at intervals, and gental stretching exercises beginning the day after surgery.



If nausea is encountered in the immediate post-operative period, taking the pain mediations often increases it.  Remember NOT to take the pain medication wihtout something in your stomach. Taking 1 oz of a carbonated beverage such as Ginger Ale every hour for 5-6 hours or a pinch of salt with bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water may relieve the post-operative nausea.  This can be followed with mild tea, broth, and soft food before resuming your regular diet.



Nourishment should not be neglected. On the day of surgery, a liquid diet is recommended (Instant breakfast, Jell-o, milk shake, broth, etc).  The following day, a soft diet to a regular diet as tolerated may be started. The patient should NOT use a straw for several days since this may dislodge the blood clot.


Oral hygiene:

Rinsing, spitting, and tooth brushing should be avoided on the day of surgery.  Starting on the day after surgery, frequent GENTLE rinsing with mild, warm salt water is encouraged. Brushing should be resumed, being careful to avoid the surgical site for the first two days.  Good oral hygiene is important to normal wound healing.



Activities for the first 24 hours should be minimal.  Rest quietly with the head elevated. Smoking should be discontinued for at least 3 days. Do not expect to return to work or normal activities immediately.  Two to three days rest is recommended and subsequently resuming activities as they are tolerated.  Vigorous physical activities and sports should not be resumed until the surgical areas are comfortable, swelling is resolved, and a normal diet is possible.  Usually contact sports should not be resumed for approximately 1 week postoperatively.  Muscial wind instruments should not be played for a least 1 week to 10 days for most oral surgery.



Depending on the nature of the surgery that was preformed and the nature of the pseron, some discoloring on the face may be seen 3-5 days after surgery.  If this happens, do not be alarmed.



Many times the roots of the lower teeth are adjacent to the nerve in the lower jaw.  When the tooth is removed, the nerve may be slightyly disrupted which may lead to a numbness of your chin, lower lip, and your lower teeth on that side.  No one can determine exactly how long this will remain, but it is raely permanent.


Taste and Odor:

After the surgery, a bad taste and odor may occur.  This is usually secondary to a lack of cleaning in the area.  Commercial mouthwash may be used along with normal rinsing and brushing.


Uncommon Problems:

Many people fear the possiblity of a dry socket, which is a VERY USUAL complication.  If you have pain, however, that is not relieved by the pain medication: a dry socket may be the problem.  If possible, you should return to our office or if the distance is too great, see your local dentist.  Pain in the ear, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty opening and closing the jaw are symptons that occur with varying frequency and usually are not significant.  Swelling at a later date is uncommon



If there is any difficulty breathing, fever, excessive bleeding, or other disturbing problems following the surgery, you should call the office immediately.  You will be givin an after hours number that can be used to reach the Dr. at any time.


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