Home Instructions After Wisdom Tooth Removal
The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and complications such as infection and swelling can be minimized if these instructions are followed carefully.
- Immediately Following Surgery
- How To Manage Bleeding
- How to Minimize Swelling After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
- Pain Management Tips for Wisdom Teeth
- What Can I Eat After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
- How To Keep Your Mouth Clean After Removal of Wisdom Teeth
- Is Discoloration Normal?
- What Antibiotics Should I Take?
- Are Nausea and Vomiting Normal?
- Other Complications After Wisdom Tooth Removal
- Healing Timeline After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Immediately Following Surgery
- The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
- 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 before the anesthetic wears off and as directed by our office.
- Restrict your activities on the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
- Place ice packs on the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for a more thorough explanation.
How To Manage Bleeding
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 black tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in black tea helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If the bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.
How to Minimize Swelling After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
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 will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days postoperatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two baggies filled with ice, or ice packs, covered by a thin dish towel 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 36 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. Thirty-six hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling and jaw stiffness.
Pain Management Tips for Wisdom Teeth
Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. Your surgical team will provide you with personalized instructions for pain medication. If you take your first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better. Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, the chances for nausea will be reduced. The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. You must allow time for your medicine to work. You must also take the medication on a regular schedule. 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 have been given a prescription for Motrin(ibuprofen) you may take it with Tylenol(acetaminophen). Both drugs are taken every six hours and can be taken as follows: if you take Motrin at 12PM, you can take Tylenol at 3 PM, Motrin at 6 PM, and Tylenol at 9 PM.
If you find that you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office. 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.
What Can I Eat After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
After general anesthetic or IV sedation, only liquids should initially be consumed. Drink from a glass and do not use straws. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. Once the local anesthetic has worn off, you may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites. A high calorie, high protein intake is very important. Our staff can provide suggested diet instructions. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss any meals. 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.
How To Keep Your Mouth Clean After Removal of Wisdom Teeth
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse very gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 3 times a day, especially after eating, with 1/4 teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.
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Is Discoloration Normal?
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 postoperatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
What Antibiotics Should I Take?
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed 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.
Are Nausea and Vomiting Normal?
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 try to take in ice chips and then water. If you can keep the water down then you may try to sip on coke, 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.
Other Complications After Wisdom Tooth Removal
- 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. You should be aware that if your lip or tongue is numb, you could bite it and not feel the sensation. Call Dr. Sindoni if you have any questions.
- A 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 lying down position to standing. You could get lightheaded from low blood sugar or medications. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute before getting up.
- Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots; they are the bony walls that supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by Dr. Sindoni.
- 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 that will resolve in time.
Healing Timeline After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help to heal. Sutures placed during surgery will resorb and drop out on their own after approximately 5 -14 days. Sometimes they become dislodged. This is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. If they become bothersome, call and schedule a visit to have them removed.
Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the third day, you should be more comfortable and although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, steady improvement. If you don’t see continued improvement, please call our office. If you are given a plastic irrigating syringe, DO NOT use it for the first five days. After the fifth day, use it daily until you are certain that the tooth socket has closed completely and that there is no chance of any food particles lodging in the socket.
There will be a void where the tooth was removed. The void will fill in with new tissue gradually over the next few months. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean, especially after meals, with salt water rinses and a toothbrush.
Your case is unique, no two mouths are alike. Discuss any problems with the trained experts best able to effectively help you: Dr. Sindoni or your family dentist.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
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.
If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get lightheaded, stop exercising.