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.  It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office. 


Bite down firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place.  Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled.  If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 60 minutes.  The gauze may then be changed every 45 to 60 minutes until bleeding has stopped or slowed. 


Swelling should be expected and can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area.  This should be applied twenty minutes on and forty minutes off during the first 48 hours after surgery.  After using a cold pack for the first 48 hours, you should apply warm compresses to the skin over the area of swelling (hot water bottles, heating pad or hot moist towels) for 20 minutes on and 40 minutes off to help soothe tender areas.  This will also help decrease swelling and stiffness.


You should take your first dose of pain medication before the anesthetic has worn off.  Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced.   The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals.  Remember that the most severe pain is usually within six hours after the local anesthetic wears off; after that your need for medicine should lessen.  If you are taking large amount of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office.


Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort.  Avoid extremely hot foods while the numbness is present.  Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery.  It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (pudding, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.)  It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas.  Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods.  It is important not to skip meals!  If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.  If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor.

Keep the mouth clean

Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential.  Please use the prescribed mouth rinse for seven days, then use the warm salt rinse only.  1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful.  Repeat as often as you like, but at least two to three times a daily.


Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery.  Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort. 


If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will 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

Nausea is not uncommon after surgery; it can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft foods, and taking the pill with a large volume of water.  If nausea remains uncontrolled, please call our office.


Sutures/stiches are placed to help control bleeding for the first 24 hours; typically they will dissolve away on their own 5 to 7 days after surgery.  If sutures fall out sooner than 5 to 7 days and bleeding is controlled there is no need to be alarmed.  If the bleeding is not controlled please call our office.

Dry Socket                   

A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain near the ear may occur 2-3 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.

Sometimes the after effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply.  Common sense will often dictate what you should do.  However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification.