Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth Recovery

Wisdom tooth removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if wisdom teeth recovery instructions are followed carefully. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons will give you instructions for your wisdom teeth recovery. For questions and concerns please contact the oral pathologists of Wichita OMS.

Wisdom Teeth Recovery

Wichita Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates
Keep gauze in place for a half-hour.
Do not vigorously rinse or touch the wound area.
Take the prescribed pain medications as directed.
Restrict your activities on the day of surgery.
Place ice packs on your face where surgery was performed.
Immediately Following Wisdom Tooth Removal 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. This is the first step in your wisdom teeth removal recovery.
  • 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.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as directed. For maximum benefit, please read the labels on the prescriptions carefully and follow those directions.
  • 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 an explanation.
Bleeding after Wisdom Tooth Removal

A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected during wisdom teeth recovery. 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 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.

Swelling after Wisdom Tooth Removal

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 wisdom tooth removal surgery and will not reach its maximum until two to three days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two plastic bags filled with ice, or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on 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.

Pain after Wisdom Tooth Removal

Our surgeons make every effort to minimize your discomfort following wisdom tooth removal surgery. The local anesthetic provided will typically stop being effective within hours. Your surgeon may choose to utilize long-duration local anesthetics in specific cases. If so, the duration of anesthesia may be 6-8 hours. If recommended or prescribed, you should begin taking prescribed anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen 600 mg, Motrin 600mg) as soon as you begin taking fluids or eating. The Motrin is very effective for the type of surgery performed in our office. Motrin or ibuprofen will not impair your reflexes or limit you ability to work.

If you experience severe pain, the prescribed narcotic pain medication should be taken as directed. The narcotic pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Pain or discomfort following wisdom tooth removal surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists or increases, it may require attention and you should call the office.

Diet after Wisdom Tooth Removal

Drink liquids after general anesthesia or IV sedation. Do not use straws when drinking from a glass. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical site(s). High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Try to maintain a normal diet. 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 five to six glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you continue to eat.

CAUTION: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position, you may become dizzy. If you are lying down following wisdeom tooth removal surgery, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.

Keep the Mouth Clean

You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after wisdom tooth removal surgery you should begin rinsing at least five to six times a day with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt especially after eating.


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 postoperative occurrence, which may occur two to three 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 and call the office immediately, or if you have any questions regarding your medication.

Nausea & Vomiting

In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following wisdom tooth removal surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour including the prescribed medicine. You should then sip on water or sports drinks. You should sip slowly over a 15-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 wisdom tooth removal 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. Call our office if you have any questions.

  • A slight elevation of temperature immediately following wisdom teeth removal surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office.
  • You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You were not able to eat or drink prior to surgery. It was also difficult to take fluids. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy. You could get light headed when you suddenly stand up. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute and then get up.
  • Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots; they are the bony walls, which supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by one of our Doctors.
  • If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as Vaseline.
  • 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 two to three days.
  • Stiffness (trismus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following wisdom tooth removal surgery. This is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.
Sutures, Dry Sockets and Healing

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 sutures may be removed, if required, at your post-operative visit. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure. So it’s really nothing to worry about.

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 the office for instructions.
There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue 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 individual. No two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Discuss your problem with the persons best able to effectively help you. If you have questions, call our office and speak directly to our staff. We are here to help you.
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 pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur two to three days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs because we may be able to diminish you discomfort with special treatments.

If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get light headed, stop exercising.

Overall, remember that your case is unique. No two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Follow all wisdom teeth recovery instructions to give your body the best chance to heal. If you have questions about wisdom tooth surgery recovery, call our office and speak directly to our staff. We are here to help you.

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