The removal of impacted wisdom 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.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following wisdom teeth removal surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for 45-60 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 45-60 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
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 will not become apparent until the day following wisdom teeth removal 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. Two baggies filled with ice, or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be applied for 30-40 minutes of each hour for the first two days after surgery. After 36 hours, ice has no proven beneficial effect, but if it helps relieve discomfort, it can be used for the first 4-5 days after wisdom teeth removal surgery. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to wisdom teeth surgery. Four to five days following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling and helps to reduce muscle stiffness in the jaws.
For moderate pain, Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 4-6 hours or Ibuprofen, (Motrin or Advil) three 200 mg tablets (600mg dose) may be taken every 6 hours. If you have medical problems, please consult with the doctor before taking over-the-counter pain medication in the post-operative period.
Occasionally, there is severe pain after wisdom teeth surgery. Research suggests that the most effective regimen to control severe pain is to alternate Extra Strength Tylenol and Ibuprofen. In certain circumstances, the surgeon may prescribe an optional prescription pain medication that may be used if the above measures are not effective. 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.
After general anesthetic or I.V. sedation, liquids should be initially taken. Do not use straws. Drink from a glass. 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. Refer to the section on suggested diet instructions at the end of the brochure. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids 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 wisdom teeth surgery, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.
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.
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.
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 other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.
In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following wisdom tooth extraction 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. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
Sutures are placed at the area of wisdom tooth removal surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures will be removed approximately one week after surgery. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure. So it’s really nothing to worry about.
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following wisdom tooth surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur call our office for instructions.
There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually over the next month fill in with the new tissue. In the mean time, 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 problem with the persons best able to effectively help you: the doctors and nurses at Oral Surgeons, P.C. or your family dentist.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
A dry socket is 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 worsen 4-5 days following surgery and may be accompanied with a foul taste or breath. Call the office if this occurs. Usually the pain can be alleviated with a simple wash out of the site and placement of a medicated packing which is changed every 48 hours.
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.