After Wisdom Tooth Removal

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The removal of wisdom teeth is a significant surgical procedure. We recommend that you follow the post operative instructions as carefully as possible.  

Immediately Following Surgery

  • The gauze pad placed over the surgical area(s) should be kept in place for 20-30 minutes. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.  The gauze pack should be replaced if the bleeding persists.
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing and/or touching the surgical site should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic becoming diminished.
  • Restrict your activities the day of surgery and 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.  Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes.  Repeat if necessary.  If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes.  The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels.  To minimize further bleeding, remain calm, sit upright, and avoid exercise.  If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.


The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved.  Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon.  This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair.  The swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and may not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively.  However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs.  Ice packs or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed.  The ice packs should be placed alternating 20 minutes on / 20 minutes off until bedtime.  If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm.  This is a normal reaction to surgery.


Your doctor has prescribed the appropriate medications for you based on your surgical procedure and any medical conditions.  Please follow the instructions as written on the bottle.  If you have any questions or experience any untoward side effects, contact our office.


Cool liquids may be taken for the first 3-5 hours.  A liquid or soft diet is advisable during the first 24 hours.  Following this, any food that the patient can tolerate is permissible.  In some cases, this may mean liquids or soft foods for several days.  Avoid popcorn, seeds, and nuts for 3-4 weeks.  Do not drink from a straw for 7 days.

For those patients who have had sedation or general anesthesia, it is necessary to resume adequate fluid intake following the anesthetic.

Oral Hygiene

No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 6-8 times a day, especially after eating, with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water. Continue this regimen for at least 7 days.  You may begin brushing your teeth the night of surgery taking care to avoid the surgical site(s)


In some cases, discoloration of the skin occurs after a surgical procedure. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may not occur until 2-3 days post-operatively. If this occurs it will resolve on its own.


If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medication as directed until completed. 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 then sip on cola, tea, or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.  If it does not subside, call the office for further instructions.

Other Complications

  • If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As reviewed in your consultation, this is usually temporary in nature. If numbness persists after 24 hours contact our office immediately for instructions.
  • 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 the 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 standing.
  • Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots; they are the bony walls which supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously.
  • 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 and the normal act of swallowing can then become uncomfortable. This will usually subside in 2-3 days.  If it persists, please contact the office.
  • 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.


Sutures are commonly placed in the area of surgery. Sometimes they become dislodged which is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. Sutures typically “dissolve” in 5 – 7 days following surgery. However, should they require removal, this is generally a painless procedure.

The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative discomfort 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 concerns with your doctor.

If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get light headed, stop exercising.

If you have any questions or concerns after Wisdom Tooth Extraction, please contact any of our offices today!