Post-Operative Instructions: Wisdom Tooth Removal

Avoid Unnecessary Discomfort

Wisdom teeth extraction is a complex surgery that will take some time to heal from. Following our post-operative instructions can help you avoid unnecessary discomfort and better ensures a healthy recovery.

Immediate Post-Op Instructions

  • Keep the gauze we’ve placed over the surgical site in place for at least 30 minutes after your surgery. These can be removed after the allotted time.
  • Do not touch the surgical site or vigorously rinse your mouth as this may dislodge the blood clot (dry socket) and initiate bleeding.
  • Begin taking your medication as prescribed the moment you feel the local anesthetic wearing off to avoid any discomfort.
  • Do not participate in rigorous activities or exercise the day of your surgery.
  • While you are awake, keep ice packs pressed to your cheeks to reduce swelling.


Minor bleeding or redness in your saliva is normal after surgery. If excessive bleeding occurs, bite down firmly on a gauze pad placed over the treatment site for 30 minutes. Prolonged bleeding can also be controlled by biting down on a moist tea bag for 30 minutes. Sitting upright and avoiding exercise or other physical activity can help minimize bleeding. Contact our office immediately if you experience uncontrollable bleeding that does not subside.

Swelling around the cheeks, jaw area, mouth, and eyes are normal for the first few days after surgery and will be most noticeable after 2-3 days. Muscle swelling in your mouth may also cause a sore throat. Apply ice packs to the cheeks on the sides of your mouth that have undergone surgery and leave them in place while you are awake for the first 36 hours. After, administering moist heat to the sides of your face is more beneficial for controlling swelling.

An elevated temperature and pain are a normal part of your initial recovery from surgery. Take over-the-counter medication (such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen) or your prescribed medication as instructed by our doctor. Refrain from driving or operating machinery and avoid drinking alcohol while taking these pain medications. If severe pain or fever persists days after your surgery, contact our Catonsville, MD office immediately.

Bruising around the cheeks, jaws, and mouth is common. Skin discoloration may be yellow, black, blue, or green and is a natural result of surgery. This bruising may be most noticeable 2-3 days after surgery. Heat applied for swelling (36 hours after surgery) can help remove the discoloration.

Numbness of your chin, tongue, and lips is normal after surgery due to the local anesthetic. This numbness is temporary but will make it impossible to feel sensations of pain if you bite your tongue or lip. Be careful to avoid any activity or movement that could risk injury.

Dizziness or lightheadedness when transitioning from lying down to standing is normal. If you are lying down, slowly sit up and wait for a few minutes before standing. It’s recommended that you have a family member or friend nearby to assist you for the first few days after surgery.

If you experience nausea or vomiting after surgery, do not eat or take prescribed medication for at least one hour after an incident. You can slowly sip Coke, tea, or ginger ale over a 15-minute period. After nausea has subsided, you can resume eating and taking medications.

If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take these tablets or liquid as instructed. Antibiotics are designed to reduce the risk of infection after surgery. Take the full amount of medication unless an allergic reaction occurs. In case of this occurrence, contact our office right away.

Wait 24 hours after surgery to begin rinsing your mouth. In the days following your surgery, rinse your mouth with warm salt water 5-6 times a day, especially after eating. There will be a cavity where your wisdom teeth have been extracted from the bone. Resumed tooth brushing the day of surgery to keep this area clean. Brush with a soft toothbrush so as not to disturb the surgical sites.

Immediately after surgery, only liquids should be consumed by drinking from a glass (using a straw can dislodge the blood clot). Drink the recommended water every day to avoid dehydration. Eat only a soft food diet that is highly nutritious, such as protein shakes, beginning a few days after surgery. Maintain a healthy diet and do not skip meals to ensure your body is receiving the proper nutrients for healing.

Sutures used to minimize bleeding and promote healing can sometimes become prematurely dislodged. This is not uncommon, and you can simply remove the suture yourself. One week after surgery, we will remove the remaining sutures. This is a quick procedure that isn’t painful.

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