Wisdom tooth removal requires extremely thorough post op care. This will help avoid unnecessary pain and complications that may occur.
When your extraction is complete we place a surgical gauze pad over the area which should be kept in place for at least one half hour to remove all blood in the surgical area. If you need to rinse your mouth, do so gently as vigorous rinsing can dislodge the blood clot that is formed to aid healing. As the local anesthetic wears off you will want to take pain medications that we have prescribed for you to minimize discomfort. Normal activities can usually be resumed the day after, many activities such as exercise may be resumed depending on the individual case. In most instances, on the fourth or fifth day, keeping in mind that if narcotics are taken, no weight lifting or operating machinery is recommended.
Your wisdom tooth has been extracted and ice packs should help minimize any swelling that occurs – keeping in mind 3 days after surgery there is no known benefit of ice packs though you may consider warm moist heat to the side of the face where we extracted the wisdom tooth. While some bleeding after extraction is normal if it does not minimize in a reasonable amount of time, contact our office for further directions.
If we prescribed a pain medication you should take it exactly as prescribed. If we felt that the pain could be controlled without prescription meds you may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen every three to four hours. Avoid alcohol regardless of the type of medication you are taking and if taking prescription pain medications, you should avoid driving or working around machinery as it may impact your reaction time. If the pain seems to persist or get worse, you may require additional attention and should contact us right away.
After surgery you should avoid drinking from a straw or from a sports type bottle that requires sucking action as it can cause more bleeding. Chewing should be done as far away from the surgical site as possible, and you can prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. You should try to eat as regularly as possible (though eat softer foods) as a healthy diet will help you heal faster.
Keeping your mouth clean is critical after extraction. You should however avoid rinsing until the day following your surgery though you can brush your teeth the night of the surgery. Rinsing should be done very gently. You should begin warm water rinses four to five times per day beginning the day after surgery.
You may notice some bruising following your surgery. This is normal and may even not show up until a few days after surgery. Heat may help speed up the healing of these bruises.
Chances are that we prescribed an antibiotic to you following surgery to avoid the possibility of infection. It is critical that you follow directions for these antibiotics and finish the entire prescription unless otherwise advised. If you have any types of reaction to the antibiotic contact us immediately.
It is not unusual to have some limited nausea or vomiting after anesthesia. Small amounts of coca-cola or ginger ale should help this subside. Once it passes you should be able to try small amounts of food. If nausea and vomiting continues, contact us for additional instructions. It is not unusual for you to suffer with some numbness in the chin, tongue or lip following surgery. This is typically a short-lived complication but you should use caution not to bite yourself because you cannot feel it properly. Call us if you have any questions or concerns. If you have a slightly elevated temperature there is no need to panic, this is a common occurrence and you may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the fever. When going from a laying down position to standing you may feel slightly lightheaded – we recommend you go to the seated position for a moment before standing. If your lips become dry and cracked you may use Vaseline or chap-stick to keep them moist. Painful swallowing is common after surgery, a result of swollen muscles in the throat – this typically subsides in a couple of days.
Be sure to contact us if the pain or swelling from your surgery does not subside or becomes worse. Over the next month the cavity where we removed the tooth will fill in but in the meantime it is critical that the area be kept clean. Use salt water rinses and a soft toothbrush being gentle over the surgical area if you are concerned about it.