Wisdom tooth removal after care
Wisdom Tooth Removal

The 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 minimised if the instructions are followed carefully.

Immediately Following Surgery

  • The gauze pack placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for 30 minutes. After this time, the gauze pack should be removed and discarded.
  • 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 in approximately 2 hours following the procedure so that it has time to work prior to the local anaesthetic diminishing. 
  • 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 further information.


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 pack over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. 
  • If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. 
  • To minimise further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. 

If bleeding does not subside, call the practice 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. 

You can minimise swelling by: 

  • Depending on the extend of your surgical procedure your dentist may prescribe you with anti- inflammatory medications which will significantly help to reduce swelling. Make sure you take these medications as prescribed. 
  • Ice packs can 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.


  • Your dentist may prescribe you with prescription pain medication for pain management 
  • The prescribed pain medication may make you groggy and slow down your reflexes. Do not drive or work around machinery whilst on these medications. Avoid alcoholic beverages. 
  • Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day.

If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the practice.


  • 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. Try not to miss a single meal.
  • When drinking beverages do not use a straw. Drink 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 sites. 
  • High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by drinking fluids regularly. 

You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort and heal faster if you ensure you have adequate nutrient intake and keep well hydrated. 

Keep the mouth clean

  • Do not rinse or spit at all for 24 hours after the procedure, as this can dislodge the blood clot. 
  • You can brush your other teeth normally but do not disturb the extraction socket. 
  • The day after surgery you should begin gently rinsing at least 3 times daily with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Continue this for 5 days to allow cleansing of the socket. 


  • In some cases, discolouration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discolouration 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 discolouration.


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 unfavourable reaction. Call the practice if you have any questions or concerns.


  • Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimise 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 will be removed approximately two week after surgery or will dissolve on there own, this may take 7-10 days. 
  • The removal of sutures requires no anaesthesia 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.

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 the practice. 
  • You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy. You could get light headed when you stand up suddenly. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute 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 easily by our dentist.
  • 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.
  • A sore throat 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 (trismus) 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.
  • 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 and jaw may occur 2-3 days following surgery. Call the practice if this occurs.

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 practice for instructions.

There will be a hole (socket) where the tooth was removed. The hole 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.

Your case is individual, no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well intended advice from friends. Discuss any issues or concerns with your dentist they will be the best person to help you. 

Get In Touch

After hours emergency appointments


3/362 Warburton Highway, Wandin North, VIC, 3139

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