Wisdom Tooth Removal – Aftercare

'woman smiling after wisdom tooth extraction'

Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is extremely important! Read on for instructions on how to care for your sore mouth, and how to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.

Immediately Following Surgery

Keep a firm, yet gentle pressure on the gauze packs that have been placed in your mouth to keep them in place. You can remove them after an hour if the bleeding is controlled. If the surgical area continues to bleed, place new gauze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Be careful!

Do not:
• Rinse vigorously
• Probe the area
• Smoke (hopefully you don’t!!)
• Participate in strenuous activities for the first week

You can:
• Brush the rest of your teeth BUT not the extraction area, until we clear you to do so after your one week postop visit.
• Begin with mouthwash or saltwater rinses (mix 1 tbs of salt with 1 cup of water), on the day of surgery only after the bleeding has stopped. Make sure to soak the mouth with the liquid only, DO NOT SWISH. These rinses should be done 3 times a day, especially after eating.

Enjoy some down-time!

Keep activity level to a minimum for the first week! Enjoy a day of couch or bed-rest, as being active could result in increased bleeding, as your blood pressure increases.  Avoid exercise for the first week.  When you do begin exercising again, keep in mind your caloric intake has been reduced so you may feel weaker.

Bleeding

As you’ve just had surgery, some bleeding will occur and it’s not uncommon to ooze blood for the first few days after your procedure. REMEMBER-the blood you see is actually a little blood mixed with saliva, so don’t panic!

If excessive bleeding persists:
1. Try repositioning the packs. They may not be putting enough pressure on the site.
2. Sit upright and avoid physical activity.
3. Bite on gauze for one hour, and try to keep the talking to a minimum.
4. If all else fails, there is a theoretical benefit to biting on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes (the tannic acid in tea promotes blood clotting).  But please only do this as a last resort.  Always call Dr. Massoomi first before doing this.

Pain

Unfortunately, some pain is to be expected after any surgery. Try not to let the anesthetic wear off before taking your prescribed pain medication.  Dr. Massoomi will discuss a plan to manage your pain.  All of the postoperative instructions will be given to you in a written form, please make sure you follow these instructions.

Diet

Eat nourishing food that takes little effort.  As I like to say: “Avoid the crunchies and the spicy foods!”
Avoid:
• Extremely hot (temperature) foods
• Using straws (for the first few days)
• Chewing until we have cleared you to resume your regular, chewing diet.
• Avoid anything with seeds or any spices that can become stuck in the extraction sockets.
• Skipping meals—while eating after surgery may seem like chore, you need your nourishment to be able to heal and feel better!   Additionally, we want you to eat before you take any medication – hence we suggest snacking most of the day,

Day 2 and 3 Following Surgery

Swelling

Swelling is a completely normal occurrence with any surgery.  Keep in mind, swelling will usually be at it’s worst in the 2-3 days after surgery.  You can minimize swelling by applying a cold compress with compression that is given to you after surgery.  Place this firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area.  Apply the pack as much as possible.  If you get the so called “brain-freeze” then place for 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off.  Icing the first 48 hours is critical.  Also make sure to take the prescribedmedication, as many of them have anti-swelling properties.

Keeping your mouth clean

Keeping your mouth clean is very important! Continue mouthwash or salt water rinses as often as you’d like, but at least 3 times a day.  Only restart your normal oral hygiene routine, only after you have seen us for your 1 week postop appointment.

Healing

Everyone heals differently, but your timeline should look similar to this:
1. Day 1-2 will be the most uncomfortable (pain) and you will start to experience some swelling.
2. Day 3 you should be more comfortable (less pain) and while the swelling will maximize.
3. Day 4 and on you should see a gradual and steady reduction in your swelling.

Other Normal Things

• Discoloration. Bruising is a normal post-operative occurrence you may notice 2-3 days after surgery.
• Stiff jaw muscles. You may find it difficult to open your mouth wide in the days following your surgery. This is normal and usually resolves itself within a week after surgery.  This is mostly due to the swelling. After we have seen you for your 1 week postop appointment , we will discuss some possible stretching exercises may help to speed up recovery.

Since no two mouths are alike, do not take advice from friends (even well-intended advice could cause a healing set-back). The advice given to you from Dr. Massoomi are tailored to fit your needs. Please call us at either location (Cupertino or San Francisco) if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. We wish you a speeding recovery and happy healing!