After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Upon Arriving Home After Surgery

  • Remove the gauze packs. Have a milkshake, pudding, yogurt, etc. but DO NOT USE A STRAW. This is very important as this may dislodge the clot that is forming.
  • Take your pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off. Be sure to always coat your stomach with a milk product before taking your pain medication. If you have been given a prescription for antibiotics, start taking the antibiotic as well. Remember to continue taking your antibiotics as directed until they are completely finished. Female patients should be aware that oral contraceptives may not be effective while taking antibiotics. 
  • Replace the gauze packs. Bite firmly on the gauze packs for 3 to 4 hours today, replacing the gauze packs every hour. Do not be concerned if you notice a small amount of blood or oozing from the operative site during the first 24 hours after surgery. This is normal. Do not rinse or spit during the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Some swelling may occur at the operative site, and some facial swelling may occur as well. Apply ice packs to the sides of the face overlying the operative site as soon as possible, and continue using the ice packs for the first 48 hours after surgery. Keeping the head elevated also helps to minimize swelling after oral surgery. Postoperative swelling usually peaks between 48 to 72 hours after surgery, so it is important to use ice packs and avoid lying flat during the first 48 hours. You can stabilize the ice packs on the sides of the face hands-free by placing the ice packs inside any kind of stocking and tying it around the head.
  • After 48 hours, moist heat packs will reduce swelling more effectively than ice. A wet wash cloth with a hot water bottle on top of it is an effective way to apply moist heat to the face, without burning the skin.
  • On the day after the surgery, begin rinsing the mouth with warm salt water (half a teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of warm water). This should be done 4 times per day, especially after meals. This will promote healing and prevent debris from accumulating at the surgical site. You may also begin to brush your teeth, brushing very gently as you approach the operative site. Do not use mouthwash, peroxide, etc. as they may delay wound healing.
  • If you have sutures, they will dissolve under the gum and then fall out on their own. They are thin like dental floss and tan in color. If they are dangling you may shorten them with a small scissor.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages for 5 days after surgery.
  • You should not drive a motor vehicle for 24 hours after general anesthesia or intravenous sedation.
  • Please remember not to drive a motor vehicle if you have taken the prescribed narcotic pain medication at any time during the previous 6 hours.