Post-Operative Instructions

What to Expect After Surgery

Post-Operative Instructions.

The removal of impacted wisdom teeth and the extraction of erupted teeth may cause some or all of the following conditions:

  • The operated area will swell. There may also be some swelling in the adjacent facial areas. Swelling may persist for several days.
  • You may experience some difficulty opening your jaws. This temporary condition is called trismus.
  • You may also experience headaches and/or earaches.
  • A sore throat may develop, which could last several days.
  • Your other teeth may ache temporarily.
  • There may be some bruising of the face on the operated side.
  • The corners of your mouth may become cracked and chapped. Keeping the lips moist with Vaseline could be very helpful.
  • Numbness of the chin and around the corner of the mouth on the side of the extraction could develop.
  • There may be a temperature increase for the first 24-48 hours after the surgery. If the temperature increase persists, please inform us.
  • Pain is very common following these procedures but should start resolving within 72 hours. If the pain medication does not help, or if the pain persists without improvement, please call us.

What to Do After Surgery

Extraction and incision wounds usually heal quickly, without complications, when simple post-operative instructions are followed. These wounds should not be neglected. We encourage you to follow the directions stated below. Your cooperation with us in your post-operative instructions and care is very important!

  • Reduce your activities for several hours after surgery.
  • After the surgery, apply an ice bag 15 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Do not cover your eyes, ears, or nose. Use an ice bag for no more than 24 hours after the procedure unless instructed otherwise.

Pain Relief

If you have been given a prescription, please have it filled promptly and take the medication exactly as directed. Tylenol or ibuprofen may also be effective for pain management. Please remember that pain medication should not be taken on an empty stomach.

Oral Hygiene

Do rinse and brush your teeth.

Rinse with warm water or warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt per 8-ounce glass of water) starting the morning after your surgery. Please rinse at least 8-10 times daily. Rinsing more than 10 times daily is even better! Continue this routine until your follow-up appointment. Avoid rinsing with commercial mouth rinses; they are typically alcohol-based and thus would be very uncomfortable if used in the first week.

Start brushing your teeth the morning after surgery. Brush all of your teeth, including the teeth around the surgery sites. Be gentle and use a soft toothbrush. You can use your regular toothpaste.


Do eat nutritious soft foods, such as chopped meats, tuna fish, salmon, mild soups, mashed potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, custards, cooked cereals, applesauce, yogurt, etc.

Do not eat sharp or spicy foods, such as chips, pizza, and fried foods. Avoid leafy foods such as salads and lettuce, as well as fresh vegetables. Also, do not have any foods with seeds, nuts, or popcorn.

Please try to follow these diet restrictions for 1-2 weeks.


Remove the gauze between the jaws 1/2 hour after leaving the office. Some oozing of blood may continue for a short time after the operation and may persist until the next day. However, if there is more than just oozing, the following will help control the bleeding:

  • Place several clean, folded gauze pads or tea bags directly on the bleeding area. Use enough so that the teeth will not meet. Close the teeth tightly so that there is pressure against the bleeding area. Maintain the pressure for about 30 minutes. Repeat this procedure if necessary. If bleeding persists, promptly call the office.

More Things to Avoid

  • No smoking or alcohol! These will guarantee more pain.
  • Avoid contact sports and gym for at least 1 week.
  • Avoid using straws, spitting, and kissing. These build up pressure inside the mouth, possibly injuring the clot.

To request a consultation and learn more about how we can help improve your smile, please request an appointment now.

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