Home Instructions after wisdom teeth extraction 

Post-operative care is very important after the removal of impacted wisdom teeth.  Unnecessary discomfort 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 may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot to become dislodged and should be avoided.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort which usually coincides with the local anesthetic wearing off.
  • Restrict your activities on 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. 


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 thirty minutes.  Repeat if necessary.  If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened black tea bag for thirty minutes.  If the bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.


Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to the surgery. The swelling will become apparent the day following surgery, and may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake.  If you should still experience some swelling after 36 hours, you may apply moist heat to reduce the swelling.  


For moderate discomfort, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed.  Do not take both the over-the-counter medication and the prescribed pain medication at the same time.  Do not drive or work around machinery.  Avoid alcoholic beverages.  If pain persists, call the office.


After general anesthesia or IV sedation, only liquids should be consumed at first.  Drink from a glass and do not use straws. The sucking motion may dislodge the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites.  A high calorie, high protein intake is very important. Our staff can provide suggested diet instructions. Nourishment should be taken regularly to prevent dehydration. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days.  At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily to increase your fluid intake. Try not to miss any meals. 

Keep the mouth clean

No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery.  Then you may begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day, especially after eating, with a teaspoon of salt mixed into one cup of warm water. 


In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling which is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues.  This is a normal post-operative occurrence.  


If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed.  Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection.  In the event of a rash or any other unfavorable reaction, discontinue antibiotic use and contact our office immediately. 

Nausea and Vomiting

If nausea and/or vomiting should occur following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour, including the prescribed medication. You may then sip on coke, tea, or ginger ale  slowly over a 15 minute period. When the nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medication.


Dissolvable sutures are typically placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and can sometimes become dislodged.  Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it.  If removable sutures are placed, they  will be removed approximately one week after surgery in our office and takes only a few minutes. The discomfort and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. 

There will be a void where the tooth was removed which will fill in with new tissue gradually over the next several weeks.  In the meantime, keep the area clean with salt water rinses or a tooth brush, especially after meals.   Be gentle with the toothbrush at the surgical sites.