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Post-Operative Instructions:
Wisdom Teeth Removal

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.

Pain Management

  • 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.
  • Oral Hygiene

  • 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.
  • Diet Reminders

  • 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.