After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Removing impacted wisdom teeth will be a major surgical procedure, so following the proper post-operative care will be vital to successful healing. If you don’t follow these instructions carefully, you may experience unnecessary pain and potential complications involving swelling and infection.
Immediately Following the Procedure
BleedingIf you notice bleeding following your surgery, you shouldn't be alarmed. Slight bleeding, red-tinged saliva, or oozing are all common. Even excessive bleeding isn't an immediate cause for concern. First, rinse any old clots from your mouth, and then use a clean gauze pad to place over the area. Bite firmly and hold the gauze in place for another 30–45 minutes. Repeat this process if necessary.
If bleeding still continues, try switching out the gauze pad for a moist black tea bag, and bite down on this for 30 minutes. It is believed that the tannic acid found in the tea can help to form a clot, as it will constrict the bleeding vessels. You can also help to control the bleeding by sitting upright and avoiding exercise.
If after all of this you are still experiencing excessive bleeding, call our office for additional instructions.
SwellingWith wisdom teeth extractions, swelling experienced around the mouth, eyes, sides of the face, and cheeks may be experienced. This is just your body’s normal response to surgery, but the swelling likely won't become noticeable until the day after your surgery and should reach its max 2–3 days post-op. However, the immediate use of cold packs can reduce or even prevent swelling.
To ice your face, fill up two small bags with ice and apply them to the sides of the face where the surgical procedure was performed. Place them on your face for 20 minutes each hour for the initial 24 hours following the surgery. After the first day, ice won’t do any good in preventing swelling.
If your swelling persists for several days, you shouldn't be concerned, as this is simply a normal reaction to an oral surgery. After 24 hours, you can use moist heat on the sides of your face, as this could be helpful in reducing swelling.
PainPain can be moderate to severe following your surgery. For moderate pain, you can take:
You will also be prescribed prescription pain medication, and if you are experiencing severe pain, this is your best option for relief. Make sure that you are taking the medication as directed, and remember that it can make you sleepy. Never drive or work with machinery when taking prescription painkillers, and you should also avoid drinking alcohol.
Your pain should get better every day following your surgery. If this doesn't happen and your pain continues, you may need to contact our office.
Diet and NutritionIf your procedure was performed with IV sedation or general anesthesia, you should initially only drink liquids following your procedure. Drink from a glass and avoid straws, as the sucking motion used to drink from a straw can dislodge the blood clot and cause more bleeding.
Feel free to start eating soft foods, but try to avoid chewing near the surgical sites. A high protein, high calorie diet is important, and you should be sure to get nourishment regularly. Drinking water consistently is also important in order to prevent dehydration, especially since you likely won’t be eating very much for the first few days.
Do the best that you can to not skip meals. If you continue to eat, you'll feel better, heal faster, and will have more strength.
Oral HygieneYou'll need to take extra precautions to keep your mouth clean while you are recovering from wisdom teeth removal surgery. The day of your surgery, don't do any rinsing. While you can brush your teeth, rinse gently. The next day, you should start rinsing out your mouth with a saltwater solution 5–6 times per day. You should continue this technique until the healing process has been finished.
DiscolorationSome people notice bruising or skin discoloration that follows swelling. This discoloration could be yellow, blue, black, or even green in color, and it is simply due to the blood that is spreading under the tissues. It usually occurs 2–3 days after surgery, and it is a normal occurrence. The use of moist heat can help this discoloration to subside.
AntibioticsIf your surgeon has prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed, as they'll work to prevent infection. If you notice that you experience an unfavorable reaction or rash after taking the medications, discontinue use and call us right away.
Nausea and VomitingIf you experience nausea or vomiting after surgery, don't eat or drink anything for an hour, and don't take any medications. After that hour, start sipping on ginger ale or another beverage that might help to soothe your stomach. Do this over a 15 minute period, and if the nausea goes away, you can start to take your medications and eat solid foods again.
Other Potential ComplicationsYou should also be aware of other potential complications that might arise after your wisdom teeth removal surgery:
You should also remember that no two mouths are exactly alike, and your case is unique. Never accept the well-intended suggestions or advice from friends. If you have a problem or concern, contact your family dentist or one of our surgeons.