After Wisdom Tooth Extraction


The removal of impacted teeth is an invasive 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 one hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded. If bleeding is still noted, replace with a new gauze pad for an additional hour. This may need to be repeated multiple times.
  • 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 dislodged. Mouth rinses should be avoided for the first 24 hours.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as possible before discomfort is experienced. Discomfort will usually coincide with the local or general anesthetic becoming diminished in a few hours.
  • Restrict your activities the day of surgery and for 2-3 days post surgery.
  • 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. Bleeding may be controlled by placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for 45-60 minutes. Repeat this process if necessary.

If bleeding continues, biting on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. If bleeding does not subside after 24 hours or becomes excessive (blood pooling in your mouth) call us 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. Ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be applied 20 minutes on / 20 minutes off per hour for the first 24 hours. After 24-36 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. After 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.



Moderate to severe pain is normal after wisdom tooth surgery. You will most likely recieve pain prescriptions at the end of your surgery. 
For severe pain, stronger pain medication will be given. This should be taken as directed. The prescribed pain medicine will make you drowsy and will slow down your reflexes.
  • Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Start pain medications immediately after surgery before experiencing pain. It is best to have a small amount of food or liquid prior to pain medication to decrease the chance of nausea. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists or worsens after days 2-3, it may require attention, and you should call us.



After general anesthetic, liquids should be initially taken. Do not use straws. Drink from a glass.

You may eat anything soft by chewing away form the surgical sites. High calorie, high protein intake is very important.

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. 


Keep the 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. 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.



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 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 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 water, 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.


Other Complications

  • 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. 
  • Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify us. 
  • 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 of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event which will resolve in time.



Sutures are placed 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 form your mouth and discard it. The sutures will be removed 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 us for instructions.

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

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 severe pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear with little resolution after medication may occur 2-3 days following surgery. Call us if this occurs.

Schedule a Wisdom Teeth Examination

At BC Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon can perform an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems, whether your wisdom teeth are impacted, if there is room for them to erupt, and how difficult it will be to have them removed

Contact us today to arrange for a wisdom teeth examination to determine whether you may or may not require wisdom tooth removal. 


Schedule a Wisdom Teeth Examination with our Oral Surgeon >