After Wisdom Tooth Removal

The removal of impacted teeth is a surgical procedure that requires special post-op care.  To help avoid unnecessary pain and complications after your procedure, please follow these instructions carefully.

Immediately Following Surgery

  • The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for 30 minutes. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded. If bleeding continues, re-apply the gauze pressure directly to the area. Avoid disturbing the area by excessive rinsing or spitting, as this may prolong bleeding.
  • Begin drinking clear fluids, like Gatorade, Jello or apple juice when you get home after surgery. Then, in one hour, start with cold foods like yogurt, smoothies, and ice cream. When the numbness wears off, you can add soft foods like  mashed potatoes, pasta, macaroni, scrambled eggs, ground meat, etc.
  • When the numbness begins to wear off, you may take Tylenol or Ibuprofen as directed. If still in discomfort after taking the Ibuprofen or Tylenol, you may take the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Kilkuts.  DO NOT take any over-the-counter or prescribed medications if you are allergic to them. 
  • For the first 36 hours after surgery: Place ice packs throughout the day (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) to the area of your face where surgery was performed. Warm compresses or a heating pad on low may be applied 36 hours after surgery.

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 placing a new gauze pad over the area, and biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the black tea helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.

Swelling

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 usually becomes apparent the day after surgery, and will reach its maximum usually 2-4 days post-operatively. Swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs being applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on for 20 minutes, then off for 20 minutes, throughout the day. After 36 hours of surgery, if the swelling or jaw stiffness persists, applying warm compresses or a heating pad on low, will be beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.

Pain

You may take over-the-counter analgesics like Tylenol or Ibuprofen as directed for discomfort after surgery. If the pain does not subside, take the prescribed pain medication.  The prescribed pain medicine can make you groggy or slow down your reflexes; don’t drive an automobile, work around machinery and avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. 

Diet

After surgery, clear liquids like Gatorade or Apple Juice should be taken. Drink from a glass and do not use straws. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot.  An hour after the clear liquids, ice cream, yogurt or smoothies can be added. When the numbness wears off, you can add soft foods like mashed potatoes, pasta, macaroni, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, ground beef, etc.  A high calorie, high protein intake is very important. Try not to miss any meals. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort and heal faster.

CAUTION: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy.  Sit up slowly, and then get up to avoid dizziness. 

Keep the mouth clean

DO NOT rinse your mouth until the day after your surgery.  After 24 hours, rinsing 2-3 times a day with a teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water, is recommended.

Discoloration

In some cases, discoloration or bruising 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

If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will be given 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.

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 Gatorade, apple juice, or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.

Other Complications

  • 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. Kilkuts if you have any questions.
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Finally

Avoid disturbing the extraction sites for a week after surgery. Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, don’t be alarmed. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures usually dissolve 3-7 days after surgery. 

There will be a void where the tooth was removed. The void will fill in with new bone and tissue gradually.  After one week, the areas should be kept clean with salt water rinses and a toothbrush.