Post-Operative Instructions: Wisdom Teeth Removal

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After Your Surgery

Post-Operative Instructions

The following instructions are important following a wisdom teeth extraction procedure.

Pain Control:

  • Discomfort can be normal after the procedure.
  • Pain medication may be prescribed. It is advised that you take pain medication on the first day.
  • If you are not allergic or intolerant to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you may start taking ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®).
  • If the ibuprofen alone doesn’t control your discomfort, take the prescribed narcotic in addition.
  • It is recommended that you alternate between the narcotic and ibuprofen. Do not take them at the same time.
  • Be certain to take your pain medication with food, as this will help prevent an upset stomach.
  • Remember: narcotic pain medication will impair your judgment and reflexes, so do not drive or operate heavy machinery.
  • Typically, minors will not be prescribed narcotics, as over-the-counter pain medications are effective for these procedures.

Bleeding:

  • A small amount of bleeding is common for the first few days.
  • If you experience excessive bleeding, place a gauze pad directly over the surgical sites and hold it in place with firm biting pressure for 30–45 minutes or until the bleeding can be controlled.
  • Replace the gauze pads every 30–45 minutes.
  • Bleeding may vary from person to person.
  • Gauze pads will always appear red. The way to assess bleeding is to directly look at the sites after the gauze pads have been removed.
  • If the bleeding does not slow down, please call our office.

Swelling Control:

  • Swelling can be normal after surgery.
  • Swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the side of your face. Do this for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
  • Continue icing the face as much as possible for the first 24–36 hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Please do not lay flat. Use 1–2 pillows to elevate the head to avoid or minimize swelling.
  • These measures may not eliminate swelling but they will help reduce its severity.

Diet–Day of Procedure:

  • Soft liquidy foods are strongly recommended on the day of the procedure. Pudding, JELL-O®, applesauce, yogurt, ice cream, and smoothies are excellent options for the day of the procedure.
  • Always cool down any hot foods or liquids during the first 24 hours following your procedure.

Diet–First Week:

  • You should eat only soft foods for the first week, such as scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, soft fish and steamed vegetables.
  • Do not use a straw.
  • Do not spit for the first week following your surgery.

Diet–Foods to Avoid:

  • Avoid hard, crunchy, or very chewy foods until the site is fully healed and you are pain-free.

Hygiene:

  • It is important to keep surgical sites really clean to avoid infection or delayed healing.
  • Begin brushing your teeth on the day of surgery. It is important to brush all of your teeth even if the teeth and gums are sensitive.
  • Avoid the surgical sites on the day of surgery. On the following day, gently brush over the surgical sites with no pressure.
  • You may remove some stitches. Brush around the packing if one has been placed.

Mouth Rinses:

  • On the day of surgery, do not rinse as it may prolong your bleeding.
  • When rinsing, please be careful to not spit.
  • If a mouth rinse has been prescribed, start using the next morning and twice per day afterward.
  • Warm salt water rinses can be made by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and should be used at least 4–5 times a day, especially after meals.

Site Irrigation:

  • If you have been given an irrigating syringe, start irrigation on the third day following surgery.
  • Fill the syringe with warm salt water, and place the tip of the syringe into the extraction site to clean.
  • Do this 3-4 times daily after meals for the first 2 weeks or as directed.
  • It is helpful to look into a mirror at first so that you can visualize where to aim the syringe.
  • For the first 3 days prior to using the syringe, you can keep the sites clean by gently brushing over the areas.

Smoking:

  • Do not smoke for at least 1 week. Smoking will increase your bleeding, the possibility of dry socket, and will also delay the healing process.

Physical Activity:

  • No strenuous activity for 3–4 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 after 3–4 days.
  • Low impact activities, such as swimming, may be more comfortable at first.
  • Avoid bending over, heavy lifting, or straining.

Thank you for reviewing these post-operative instructions and following them carefully.

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