If you are scheduled for surgery to remove your wisdom teeth, it is important to know how to take care of yourself after your surgery. It is unlikely that you will feel up to running errands or getting things put in place, so the more that you can do in advance, the better your recovery will go. Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure. As such, there are specific care instructions that should be followed so that you can recover and heal as seamlessly as possible. While you should consult with your medical team about particular details, we have put together some general guidelines to follow after your surgery is finished.

Immediately After Surgery

• The gauze covering the surgical site should be kept in place for 30 minutes. After that time, replace the covering if bleeding continues.

• Avoid vigorous rinsing or touching the wound site. Either of these actions can dislodge a clot and cause bleeding to start again.

• Take your pain medication as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This is generally when the anesthesia is starting to wear off.

• Keep your activities limited for the first day. Resume your normal activities as you feel better. The amount of time this takes will vary from patient to patient.

• Place ice or cold compresses to the sides of your face where the surgery occurred.


Managing Bleeding

• Bleeding is a normal part of the recovery process, but if you notice additional bleeding, change out the gauze dressings and bite down. Repeat this process as necessary. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, you can also use teabag to help form a clot.

• If you cannot get the bleeding to subside and become concerned, don’t panic, sit upright, and call your medical provider to obtain additional guidance.

• Diet After Surgery

• It is likely that you will want to drink fluids and avoid hard foods following your surgery. However, you should be cautious to avoid straws. The suction created from using a straw can cause additional bleeding from your surgery site. Instead, drink directly from the cup or glass.

• If you have had surgery on one side of the mouth, begin with soft foods and chewing on the opposite side of the surgery. Focus on high calorie and high protein soft foods to maximize the nutrition while minimizing your effort.

• Drink 5-6 glasses of fluids per day. This should not include carbonated or sugary drinks.


Keep Your Mouth Clean

Due to the surgery, your mouth has a higher potential for infection. Maintaining excellent oral health

will help to speed your recovery and minimize potential complications.

• The day of your surgery, you should perform 5-6 warm saltwater rinses, particularly after eating.

• You can brush your teeth but do so gently.

• Avoid mouth rinses until the day after your operation.


Managing the Pain

It is likely that you will have been prescribed pain medication. If you choose to use that medication, follow the guidelines provided by your pharmacist. If you opt to use over the counter medications, there are some general rules that you can follow.

• Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol can be taken every 4-6 hours as directed.

• Do not exceed 4000 mg of Tylenol in 24 hours. If you need more medication, ibuprofen can be taken. Don’t exceed 3200 mg of ibuprofen in 24 hours.

• Do not take medication if you know that you are allergic or if you have been directed by your doctor to avoid it. If you have questions, contact your doctor before taking medication.

Wisdom teeth extractions are very common procedures for many young adults. If you need a wisdom tooth extraction, you can follow the guidelines here, but if you have received direct instruction from our dentist, make sure you heed their advice. Contact our dentist today to schedule your extraction or to get further clarification on any of this guidance.