After Wisdom Tooth Removal
The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
Important: Please read the information below to help your recovery from your oral surgery procedure at San Luis Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center. If you have any questions, please call us at: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.
Healing Instructions Post Surgery
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, discarded and replaced with new gauze.
- Vigorous mouth rinsing 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 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 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 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 contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, sit upright, do not become excited, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.
Swelling is to be expected and 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 post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. Apply the ice packs to the area off and on, in 20-minute intervals. 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.
For moderate pain, you can take 1 Extra Strength Tylenol (500mg) in combination with 1-2 Ibuprofen (200mg) every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Without exceeding daily maximum dosage.
For severe pain, take the prescribed medication as directed. The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. 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: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.
After general anesthetic or IV sedation, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink from a glass and do not use straws. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites.
High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Nourishment should be taken 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 a single meal. 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 for one minute before standing.
Keep the mouth clean
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5–6 times a day especially after eating with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
Bruising and Discoloration
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 post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
Antibiotics are given to help prevent infection. If you have been placed on antibiotics, take them as prescribed. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.
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 coke, tea or ginger ale slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
- If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As stated before surgery, 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. So be careful.
- Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611. Tylenol or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
- 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 not, they can be removed by Dr. Janette or Dr. Casteel.
- 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 which will resolve in time.
Final Post Surgery Information
Sometimes sutures are placed in the surgical area to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. The sutures will dissolve or fall out on their own in about a week, unless otherwise noted. Occasionally the sutures become dislodged before then, this is no cause for alarm. Simply remove the suture from your mouth and discard it.
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur call the office for instructions.
There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue 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 individual, no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well intended advice from friends. Discuss your problems or questions with our office or your family dentist.
Brushing your teeth is okay — just be gentle at the surgical sites.
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur 4-5 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.
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.