|Home Care Instructions » Wisdom Tooth Surgery and Extractions|
| Home Care After Wisdom Tooth Removal and Extractions
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 SurgeryVigorous 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 dislodged.
Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic becoming diminished.
Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
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 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
Most patients have very little visible swelling after having their wisdom teeth removed. Normal swelling is usually proportional to the extent of the surgery. Mild swelling in the cheeks is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery. The swelling will not usually become apparent until the day following surgery, and will not reach its maximum until two to three days after surgery. The swelling may not be visible but it can make your chewing muscles stiff so they are sore when you open your mouth widely.
Ice packs may help some patients to minimized the swelling. For other patients, they are more trouble than they are worth. Two small plastic bags filled with a little ice and some water, or commercial ice packs, may be applied to the sides of the face where the surgery was performed. The ice packs may be left on continuously while you are awake. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. Swelling or jaw stiffness may persist for several days. This is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Thirty-six hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face may be helpful in reducing the swelling. Use an electric heating pad, never use a microwave heating pad because it may cause severe burns.
For moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every three to four hours, or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) two to four 200 mg tablets may be taken every three to four hours.
For severe pain, take the tablets prescribed as directed. The prescribed pain medicine may make you groggy and may slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery while taking the prescribed pain medication. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may indicate a problem, and you should call our office.
Drink liquids after general anesthesia or IV sedation. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical site(s). High protein foods are valuable in reducing swelling and aiding healing. Try to maintain a normal diet. You should drink plenty of fluid to help prevent dehydration. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days, so you should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least two quarts (64oz.) of liquid should be taken daily. You will feel better, have more energy, less discomfort, and heal faster if you eat a normal amount.
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 Your Mouth Clean
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery, but rinse gently. Excessive rinsing after surgery may increase bleeding and wash out the clots, contributing to a dry socket.
The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal occurrence, which may develop two to three days after surgery. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the resolution of the discoloration.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call our office if you have any questions.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting after oral surgery is usually caused by blood that has been swallowed. If the liquid that comes up when you vomit is dark red or black, it is due to swallowed blood. Once the blood is out of the stomach, the nausea will usually resolve rapidly. 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 15-minute period. When the nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
Other ComplicationsIf 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. McBride if you have any questions.
A slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the elevated temperature persists, notify our office. Tylenol or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
You should be careful when going from a lying down position to standing. You could get light headed when you suddenly stand up. You may be dehydrated, so it is good to drink plenty of fluid. Taking pain medications can also make you dizzy. Stand up slowly.
Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as Vaseline, or Chap-Stik.
A sore throat, or pain when swallowing, are not uncommon. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Aleve, can be very helpful.
Stiffness 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. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Aleve, can be very helpful.
Additional Information and Suggestions
Dissolving sutures are placed in 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 will dissolve approximately one week after surgery.
The pain and swelling should subside a little 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 depression where the tooth was removed. The depression will gradually fill-in with new tissue over the next month. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean with salt-water rinses or a toothbrush.
Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Discuss any problem with Dr. McBride or our team.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot in the surgical site dissolves prematurely. Pain at the surgical site, and pain that radiates toward the ear, may occur two to three days following surgery. Your pain medication may keep you comfortable, but you should call our office for instructions.
If you get light headed while exercising, stop exercising, and drink plenty of fluids.