Bellflower after Wisdom Tooth Removal
Although common, wisdom teeth removal is a serious procedure that requires post-operative care for effective healing. If you follow these instructions, unnecessary pain and complications like a gum infection can be avoided.
- Keep the gauze pad placed on the site of surgery in place for at least 30 minutes. Then it can be removed and discarded.
- Do not rinse your mouth or touch the surgical site after surgery. This can cause bleeding and slow healing.
- Take your prescribed pain medication when the anesthetic is no longer active.
- Restrict your activities to include less strenuous labor or exercise.
- Place ice packs on the cheek over the surgical site to reduce swelling and pain.
It’s normal to experience slight bleeding, oozing, and redness in the saliva after surgery. If the bleeding is excessive, control it by rinsing and wiping away any loose clots. You can then place a gauze pad on the surgical site and hold it in place for 30 minutes. Repeat as often as necessary. To avoid future bleeding, avoid exercise, sitting upright, or being excited, as these stimulate blood flow and can dislodge the clot on the surgical site. If bleeding does not subside, please call the office for more instructions.
Swelling is normal after wisdom tooth removal and will be proportional to the completed surgery. After tooth removal, you can expect moderate swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and along the sides of the face. Swelling usually doesn’t appear until the day after surgery, and will reach its highest point 2-3 days after the procedure.
You can minimize swelling by using ice packs on the sides of the face where surgery occurred. When awake, keep the ice packs on continuously or for as long as you can stand. If the cold becomes painful, you can remove the packs for an hour or so. After the first 36 hours, though, ice becomes ineffective at helping to control the swelling.
Do not be alarmed if swelling or jaw stiffness remains for several days. After 36 hours, you can try applying moist heat in the form of dampened towels to the sides of the face where swelling occurs. This will help reduce it and make you more comfortable.
It’s common to experience pain after wisdom tooth removal because the body needed to be injured to remove the teeth before they could become overgrown. For moderate pain, we recommend taking 1-2 tablets of Tylenol or a similar medication every 3-4 hours. Remember to read the instructions and take a dose proportionate to your age. Do NOT take more than recommended, as it can cause damage to the internal organs.
If you cannot take Tylenol, than Ibuprofen is another option typically sold under brand names like Advil or Motrin. Remember to always read the instructions. You will most likely need to take 2-3 tablets no more than 4 times in a 24 hour period. Do NOT exceed 3200 mg a day of this medication. Please consult us for more information if you’re trying to treat pain in a patient who is under 18, and do NOT mix medications or take two or more at the same time.
If pain is severe, take the prescribed medication as directed. Do not consume or imbibe any medication that you are allergic to or have been told to avoid. You must also not drink any alcoholic beverages and need to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery. If pain or discomfort does not subside over the next few days following surgery, or if it worsens, please call the office for further instructions.
After surgery that uses general anesthetic or IV sedation, it’s only appropriate to consume liquids. Please drink from a glass and don’t use straws, as sucking can cause more bleeding. After 24 hours, you can eat soft foods but need to keep the food away from the surgical sites. We recommend a high calorie, high protein diet to improve healing. Drink fluids like water, not soda, regularly and try to eat every few hours. At least 5-6 full glasses of fluid needs to be consumed in a single day for rapid healing. Remember that you CANNOT have alcohol while taking pain medication.
Keep your mouth clean after eating by rinsing with salt water. Spit out the water instead of swallowing it, as the salt can make you sick.
Sometimes discoloration of the skin occurs after surgery. It frequently appears alongside swelling and can be black, blue, green, or yellow. Discoloration is caused by blood spreading underneath the tissues, and can occur 2-3 days after the operation. If you apply moist heat like a damp towel to the area, discoloration will disappear quicker than if you leave the site alone. Please don’t poke or jab affected areas.
Sometimes patients will be prescribed antibiotics to prevent an infection developing in the surgical site. Please take the tablets or liquid as directed and remember to finish the entire course of antibiotics. You can, however, discontinue the antibiotic is you develop a rash, allergic reaction, or another unfavorable side effect. Contact our office immediately if this happens, and call if you have any questions about medication.
Nausea and Vomiting
If you experience nausea or vomiting after surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour. This includes prescribed medication. You should instead sip a soft drink like tea or ginger ale for 15 minutes to help calm the stomach. Once nausea subsites, start drinking more water and take the prescribed medicine. Slowly start to eat solid foods as well.
There are a couple more complications that occur following the surgery. Do not be alarmed, as everyone’s body is unique and will respond in a different way to wisdom tooth removal.
- Temporary numbness in the lip, chin, or tongue is common because of the anesthetic. Be careful as it is easy to bite the lip or tongue and be unaware of the situation. If you have questions, please call the office.
- A slight elevation in temperature is normal because the body is trying to repair the surgical site. If fever persists, take medication like Tylenol or ibuprofen and notify our office.
- Sometimes you can feel hard projections in the mouth with your tongue. People often mistake them for the roots of teeth, but they are actually bony walls that had supported the wisdom tooth. They should smooth out on their own. If they don’t, call the office and we can schedule their removal for you.
- Cracked or chapped lips occur frequently but are not a sign of any underlying health problems. Just remember to use a Chapstick, lip balm, or ointment like Vaseline to keep the region moisturized.
- It’s normal to experience a sore throat or pain when swallowing. It should occur for only 2-3 days and will then disappear.
- Stiffness of the jaw or difficulty opening the mouth after surgery is a natural side effect that will subside after 2-3 days. Do not try to force your mouth open too much.
During surgery, sutures are placed to help minimize bleeding and facilitate healing. If they become dislodged, do not panic. You can remove the suture from your mouth and throw it away. A week after the operation, you will return to our office and a dentist or assistant will remove the sutures. This procedure does not require anesthesia or needles, occurs in less than a minute, and is not painful.
There will be an empty space where the wisdom tooth was removed. Over the next month, the void will become filled with new gum tissue. You should keep this space clean by rinsing with salt water after meals and gently using a toothbrush to eliminate debris. These measures can prevent infection and ensure growth occurs.
If any problems occur, or if you are confused about what to do, please contact Dr. Adamous, Dr. Sonnichsen, or your family dentist. Trained experts will be able to effectively help you. Please do not use the internet as a reliable resource for healthcare advice.
You can brush your teeth, but you need to be gentle around the surgical sites to prevent damaging the area.
Sometimes something called a dry socket will happen, which is when the blood clot dislodges from the tooth socket. When this happens, pain around the surgical site and the ear are common. Call the office if this happens.
If you exercise regularly, avoid it for the first few days after surgery. Then gradually incorporate it, but remember that you need to stop if you get lightheaded.