After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Bleeding | Pain | Antibiotics | Other Complications
The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
Immediately Following Surgery
- The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for 45-60 minutes. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
- Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become disturbed or dislodged.
- Take the prescribed medications as you were instructed. Your pain medication should be taken as soon as you are able to take in food, so as to avoid the delay between experiencing pain and the effect of oral pain medications. The use of ibuprofen(eg. Advil) and acetaminophen(eg. Tylenol) is recommended as a first-line choice for pain control. The use of narcotic pain killers should only be used in case of severe pain uncontrolled by these choices, but is usually not necessary. The doctors are well aware of the implications of prescribing narcotics judiciously in light of the current opioid crisis. Please feel free to discuss this with them.
- Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable. This could be several days, so be sure to give yourself the time to recover.
- Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for explanation.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary.
If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, contact Mill Creek Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates for further instructions. Austintown Phone Number 330-792-2501
The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery performed. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair.
The swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two baggies filled with ice or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake, as much as tolerated. This should be continued for 3 days.
If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. You may have also been given a prescription for a steroid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. ibuprofen). These two medications, in addition to the ice therapy, will minimize your swelling.
Take the pain medications as directed. The prescribed pain medicine may make you groggy and slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. You may have been given a prescription for ibuprofen. This should be taken as prescribed continuously, as it has a beneficial effect on swelling.
Certainly, significant pain relief will be a secondary benefit. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.
Choose Exceptional Oral Surgery
Schedule an appointment online or call one of our offices today!
After general anesthesia or I.V. sedation, liquids should be initially taken. Do not use straws. Drink from a glass. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites. High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Nourishment should be taken regularly.
You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you continue to eat. Caution: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy. If you are lying down following surgery, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.
Keep the mouth clean
You may rinse with warm salt water and brush your teeth the night of surgery, but be sure to do this gently. The day after surgery, you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day especially after eating with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
Remember: A clean wound heals better and faster!
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take them as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.
Nausea and Vomiting
In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour, including the prescribed medicine. You should then sip on coke, tea, or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
- If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As stated before surgery, this is usually temporary in nature. You should be aware that if your lip or tongue is numb, you could bite it and not feel the sensation. So be careful. Call Dr. Billy or Dr. Wagley if you have any questions.
- Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
- You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You were not able to eat or drink prior to surgery. It was also difficult to take fluids. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy. You could get light-headed when you stand up suddenly. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute then get up.
- Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots, they are the bony walls that supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by Dr. Billy and Dr. Wagley.
- If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as Vaseline.
- Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in 2-3 days.
- Stiffness (trismus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.
Sutures are placed at the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures are dissolvable and will be gone in approximately one week after surgery.
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur, call our office for instructions.
There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually fill in over the next month with new tissue. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean, especially after meals, with salt water rinses or a toothbrush. Avoid foods like popcorn, nuts, and seeds.
Your case is individual, no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Discuss your problem with the persons best able to effectively help you: Dr. Billy and Dr. Wagley or your family dentist.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur 2-3 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.
If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get lightheaded, stop exercising.