The following will cover important information regarding proper post-surgical care for wisdom teeth extraction. If you have been scheduled to have your wisdom teeth removed, it will be important to follow these instructions exactly as we present them.
- Discomfort is normal after the extraction of teeth. If you are not allergic or intolerant to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, start taking ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) as instructed by your doctor at the time of your surgery.
- If the ibuprofen alone does not control your pain, Tylenol® (500mg) can be taken every 6 hours. In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe narcotic pain medication in place of Tylenol.
- Be certain to take your pain medicines with food; this will help prevent nausea. Remember, narcotic pain medicine will impair your judgment and reflexes.
- Place gauze pad(s) directly over the extraction site(s) and hold them in place with firm biting pressure; proper placement will help you not swallow blood, which can make you nauseated.
- Replace the gauze pad(s) every 40–60 minutes. When the gauze pads have little or no blood on them, they are no longer necessary.
- The amount of bleeding will vary from person to person. Most of your bleeding will slow within 3–4 hours, but a small amount of bleeding is common for up to 24 hours.
- Do not rinse on the day of surgery; it may prolong your bleeding.
- Begin saltwater rinses the day after surgery and continue for 1 week.
- Rinse with warm salt water 6–8 times each day.
- To make the saltwater solution, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 16 ounces of warm water.
- If you have been given an irrigating syringe, start irrigation on the fifth day following surgery.
- Fill the syringe with warm salt water and place the tip of the syringe into the extraction site to clean.
- Do this 3–4 times a day for 4 weeks.
- Swelling is normal after surgery and is a major cause of post-extraction discomfort.
- Swelling typically peaks by the third day and then starts to resolve; the use of an ice pack can reduce it.
- Apply the ice pack to the side of your face for 20 minutes; transfer it to the opposite side for another 20 minutes. Continue icing the face for the first 24 hours.
- Also, keep your head elevated on 2 pillows for 7 days.
- These measures will not eliminate swelling, but they will help to reduce its severity.
- To allow blood clots to form undisturbed, do not eat for 2 hours after surgery.
- Start with clear liquids, such as apple juice, tea, or broth. Gradually ramp up your diet as tolerated.
- Always cool down any hot foods or liquids during the first 24 hours.
- You should eat only soft foods for the first week: for example, soups, eggs, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf are fine.
- To help prevent dry socket, do not use a straw for the first 7 days after surgery.
General Post-Operative Care
- Begin brushing your teeth the day after surgery. During the first week, you may need to stop 1–2 teeth in front of the surgical sites.
- Do not smoke for at least a week. Smoking will increase your bleeding.
- Unless told otherwise, do no vigorous physical activity for 7 days following your surgery. Physical activity increases your blood pressure, which will cause an increase in your swelling, pain, and bleeding.