Post-Operative Instructions: Wisdom Teeth Removal

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  • For patients who received intravenous sedation: You may NOT drive, drink alcoholic beverages, or be left alone without a responsible adult with you until the next day.
  • Apply pressure to the surgical area by biting lightly on gauze sponges for about 3 hours. Change the gauze every hour. This is a guideline for most patients — you may stop oozing earlier or ooze a little longer. It is best to discontinue the gauze after the 3-hour period, as taking it in and out will make it continue to ooze. Take fluids between changes.
  • You may be numb between 6 and 10 hours. Every patient is different.
  • Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting for the first 12 hours, as this may cause an increase in bleeding. You may brush your teeth lightly tonight.
  • Apply ice to the face in the area of the surgery for the rest of the day: 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. If the surgery was extensive, it is helpful to ice intermittently the next day as well. A medication was administered that keeps the swelling down for approximately 24–36 hours. Therefore, the most swelling is generally seen the second and third day, not counting the surgical day.
  • You may begin to eat upon your return home. Cool, clear liquids are suggested for the first few hours, followed by soft foods for today and tomorrow, and then as tolerated.
  • Beginning the day following surgery, rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 tsp salt to 8 oz water) following each meal.
  • Patients benefit by taking 600 mg of ibuprofen (Advil® ) or 650 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol® ) every 6 hours for the first 48 hours as soon as returning home. Use the prescription medicine only as a rescue medication for significant breakthrough pain.
  • Complications following oral surgery are unusual. However, if you experience any of the following, or if you have questions regarding your surgery, please contact one of our offices: swelling that increases after four days, elevated temperature, and/or swelling at the location of any intravenous injections. There is a doctor available 24 hours for emergency problems.
  • You have an appointment for a post-operative visit. It is very important that you keep this appointment. Your stitches may or may not dissolve before you return. If they do not, we will remove them.

Please call one of our offices if you experience severe pain or excessive bleeding or swelling, or if you have any questions or concerns. If you are experiencing a serious or life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.

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