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Post-Operative Instructions: Wisdom Teeth Removal


The following will cover important information regarding proper post-surgical care for wisdom teeth extraction. If you have been scheduled to have your wisdom teeth removed, it will be important to follow these instructions exactly as we present them.

Discomfort is normal after the extraction of teeth. If you are not allergic or intolerant to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, start taking ibuprofen (also known as Advil®or Motrin®) as instructed by your doctor at the time of your surgery. If you are asthmatic, do not take ibuprofen unless you have tolerated it in the past. If the ibuprofen alone doesn’t control your pain, take your prescribed narcotic in addition. Ibuprofen and your prescribed narcotic can be taken together. Be certain to take your pain medicines with food; this will help prevent nausea. Remember, narcotic pain medicine will impair your judgment and reflexes.

Pain following the removal of teeth is not uncommon. For pain management, take Tylenol® Extra Strength as instructed.

You may follow the above pattern for 4–5 days as needed for maximum pain relief. Peak day for pain is typically on the fourth day. This is to be expected and totally normal. Please notify us if these medications cause an adverse reaction or if they do not control the pain appropriately.

After extractions, a small amount of bleeding is to be expected. Oozing may continue for 24–48 hours following the procedure. Sutures may dissolve in 1–2 weeks on their own. You will be given fresh gauze to bite down on as you are discharged from the procedure. It is important to bite down consistently for 20–30 minutes at a time. Do not continuously change out gauze as this will only encourage bleeding.

When the gauze pads have little or no blood on them, they are no longer necessary. The amount of bleeding will vary from person to person. Most of your bleeding will slow within 3–4 hours, but a small amount of bleeding is common for up to 24 hours.

Do not rinse on the day of surgery; it may prolong your bleeding. Begin rinses the day after surgery and continue for 1 week.

You will use the Peridex/chlorhexidine mouthwash twice a day for 1 week to help prevent infections and clean food out that may be stuck behind your molars. Brush your teeth first and avoid incision sites. Swish for 30 seconds and then drool out. Do not spit excessively.

Swelling is normal after surgery and is a major cause of post-extraction discomfort. Swelling typically peaks by the third day and then starts to resolve; it can be reduced by the use of an ice pack. Apply the ice pack to the side of your face for 10 minutes; transfer it to the opposite side for another 10 minutes. Continue icing the face for the first 24 hours. Do not freeze the skin. Ice packs are useful for the first 24 hours only. Also, keep your head elevated on two pillows for 3–4 days. These measures will not eliminate swelling, but they will help to reduce its severity.

To allow blood clots to form undisturbed, do not eat for 2 hours after surgery. Start with clear liquids, such as apple juice, tea, or broth. Gradually ramp up your diet as tolerated. Always cool down any hot foods or liquids during the first 24 hours. If you were sedated for surgery, do not eat fatty, creamy, or oily foods; these foods may cause nausea. You should eat only soft foods for the first week: for example, soups, eggs, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf are fine. For 2 weeks (8 weeks if you had lower wisdom teeth extracted), do not eat hard, crunchy, or very chewy foods, such as European breads, pizza crust, steak or jerky, nuts, or popcorn. To help prevent dry socket, do not use a straw for the first 3 days after surgery.

Your diet should first consist of lighter/smoother foods such as soups, custards, Jell-O®, applesauce, ice cream, smoothies, yogurts, warm soups, etc. You may advance your diet as tolerated. Avoid hard/abrasive foods. Avoid the use of straws for the first 3 days.

Begin brushing your teeth the day after surgery. It is important to brush all of your teeth, even if the teeth and gums are sensitive. Bacterial plaque and food accumulation near the extraction site will delay healing.

Do not smoke for at least a week. Smoking will increase your bleeding; the nicotine and tar in tobacco impair healing and may cause a dry socket.

Unless told otherwise, do no vigorous physical activity for 3 days following your surgery. Physical activity increases your blood pressure, which will cause an increase in your swelling, pain, and bleeding. You may gradually increase your activity, such as jogging or tennis, 5–7 days after your surgery.

You will start your antibiotics the day of your procedure at the nearest mealtime. Taking probiotics with your antibiotics is helpful if you have a sensitive stomach.

You may resume normal activity in 1 week pending what your “normal” activity entails.

Feel free to call the office at 844-ALFI-OMS. Schedule a follow-up appointment 1 week after the procedure. If asymptomatic, the appointment can be virtual.

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