After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Home Instructions After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and complications such as infection and swelling can be minimized if these instructions are followed carefully.

Immediately Following Surgery

  • The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing and/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 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.
  • Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for a more thorough 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 moistened gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.


The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. 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 will 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 used 20 min on and 20 min off continuously while you are awake. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there 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 is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.


Most patients will require only over the counter pain medication to alleviate post surgical discomfort.

Do not take any of the medication mentioned below if you are allergic to them, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it

IBUPROFEN: also known as the trade names Advil and Motrin.

It is recommended that you take 600mg (3 x 200mg tabs) of ibuprofen every 6 hours. This is a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which will reduce swelling and reduce your discomfort. If you are taking a blood thinner such as Warfarin (Coumadin) or Clopidogrel (Plavix) or have any contraindications to taking ibuprofen, please let us know. Please do not take ibuprofen if you are taking other NSAIDs.


ACETAMINOPHEN: also known as the trade name Tylenol

If you require additional pain relief you can also take acetaminophen (Tylenol). This can be taken in conjunction with ibuprofen. Acetaminophen can also be taken with your narcotic pain medication.


For severe pain, your doctor may prescribe a narcotic pain medication for you to take. You are not required to take any narcotic pain medication after your surgery. The prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
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.

Keep the mouth clean

No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day, especially after eating, with a teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water. After 3 days, start irrigating with the monoject syringe that was given to you in your post op bag. Position the tip of the syringe over the site where the tooth was removed and push the plunger. This will help dislodge any food particles from the socket and prevent infection. We encourage you to irrigate after every meal and before bed.


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 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 void where the tooth was removed. The void will fill in with new tissue gradually over the next month. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean, especially after meals, with salt water rinses or a toothbrush.

Your case is unique, no two mouths are alike. Discuss any problems with the trained experts best able to effectively help you: Drs. Kelly or Jones or your family dentist.

Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.