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Post-Operative Instructions:
Wisdom Teeth

What to expect after surgery


  • You will likely have some discomfort and notice some swelling. Please note: swelling and discomfort will last for 48 to 72 hours (2 to 3 days) maximum after the surgery.
  • Stiffness of the jaw is not unusual after surgery. This may persist for 7 to 10 days.
  • Some bruising may be apparent after surgery. This is more common in patients taking blood thinners or where surgical extractions were performed (e.g., gum tissue being elevated). Bruising results from mild bleeding between the bone and tissue after surgery. The bruising gradually disappears in 7 to 10 days.
  • Temperature of the patient may run as high as 101 degrees F for the first 12 to 24 hours following surgery. The increase in temperature is usually the result of an inflammatory response the body undergoes in reaction to the surgery. If elevated body temperature persists or increases beyond 101 degrees F, please call the doctor's office.
  • Bleeding will decrease as the blood clot forms. Some mild oozing will continue for 24 hours and will cause discoloration of your saliva.
  • You may experience some nausea after surgery. This may be from swallowing blood or from your medication. You may call your surgeon and they can prescribe an anti-nausea medication. You may also try discontinuing the strong pain medication and taking Tylenol® or ibuprofen only. If nausea and vomiting continue, please call your surgeon.
  • You will experience numbness for a variable length of time following the surgery. While your mouth is numb, you will want to be careful not to bite your cheek, lip, or tongue. The numbness should subside within several hours.
  • The side effects of the sedative drugs that were used to put you to sleep subside over a few hours. Please do not drive, operate heavy machinery, etc. for 24 hours from the time of surgery. The patient should be monitored closely for the first 24 hours following surgery.

Home care instructions / answers to common questions:

Bleeding

  • After your teeth were removed, a gauze compress was placed on the wound and you were asked to keep your jaws closed firmly for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. You will likely need to replace the gauze every 30 to 45 minutes as needed to control bleeding. Please use gauze for several hours after surgery to ensure bleeding is controlled. Bleeding should be very minimal when you retire to bed (gauze should not be required when you sleep).
  • If it appears the bleeding is not slowing or stopping, ensure the gauze is placed directly over the area of bleeding and firm, uninterrupted pressure should be maintained for at least 45 minutes. This will resolve the vast majority of bleeding.
  • Additional measures could include utilizing a tea bag in the standard form. Place this over the extraction site and biting firmly as indicated above. The tannic acid in the tea will help with clotting. If heavy bleeding continues, phone the doctor at the office.

Dry Socket

Dry socket is the premature breakdown of the blood clot. This typically occurs between the third and fifth day after surgery. It is more common in females. It is more common in patients that smoke or have medical conditions that affect healing. If you overexert yourself physically then you are more likely to get a dry socket. Symptoms that may indicate you have a dry socket are increased pain and a bad taste in your mouth. Typically, the pain radiates to your ear. If you have these symptoms, please call our office and we can schedule a time to see you.

Diet

We encourage you to drink lots of liquids and maintain a soft diet. Avoid hot liquids as this may prematurely dissolve the blood clot. Do not drink alcohol as this can have compounding effects with pain medicine and may alter the effects of other prescribed medications. We recommend foods that are soft, thick, and creamy for the first 5 to 7 days. Avoid popcorn and all seedy type food (e.g., raspberries) and any other food that may easily get caught in the extraction sites. Avoid spitting, using straws for liquids, and smoking for at least one week following the surgery.

Irrigation Syringe

Beginning 5 days after surgery, use the enclosed syringe to clean out the extraction site.

To use: stand in front of a mirror and pull back your cheek to see the surgery site. With warm water in the syringe, place the tip near the surgery site and rinse. This should be done after meals and at bedtime as long as debris accumulates in the area.

Medications

Prescriptions should be taken as directed. They are prescribed to provide pain control. As healing occurs the pain will decrease. As the pain decreases you may decrease the frequency of taking the pain medication.

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU ARE TAKING BIRTH CONTROL PILLS AND ARE PRESCRIBED ANTIBIOTICS, STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT ANTIBIOTICS CAN DECREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BIRTH CONTROL PILLS FOR UP TO 30 DAYS.

Oral Hygiene/Mouthwash

As soon as possible, brush your teeth gently. Brush on the tops of teeth only as you near the surgical sites with your toothbrush. Continue to brush your teeth and keep your mouth as clean as possible. A prescription-strength mouth rinse has been prescribed. Start the mouth rinse 48 hours after surgery.

Physical Activity

No activity that increases your heart rate should be performed for the first 5 days following surgery. The incidence of "dry socket" increases when physical activity is performed that raises your heart rate.

Stitches (Sutures)

Your stitches have been placed to control bleeding and encourage healing. These dissolve on their own in 10 to 14 days.

Swelling

Swelling to some extent follows nearly every tooth extraction. This is nature's way of beginning the healing process. The swelling is often quite severe after the removal of impacted wisdom teeth. An ice pack applied intermittently for up to 48 hours may help to reduce the swelling. The swelling will usually reach a maximum in 36 to 48 hours. Note: Please do not blow your nose for one week after having upper wisdom teeth removed, as this can lead to healing complications.


IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE INSTRUCTIONS OR ANY CONCERNS, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE (406) 752-4375.

PLEASE NOTE THAT PRESCRIPTIONS WILL BE FILLED OR REFILLED DURING OFFICE HOURS ONLY SO WE ARE ABLE TO VERIFY OFFICE RECORDS.

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