Wisdom Teeth Post-Op Care

Please not that any specific instructions given to you by Dr. Wallace or his staff supersede the following. If you are experiencing prolonged bleeding, nausea or intense pain, please contact our office immediately at 519-884-2500 to assess if a post-operative assessment is necessary.

In most cases, healing takes place quickly and without complications following oral surgery. Following these guidelines for your care at home should help minimize discomfort and swelling. You have a long-acting freezing in the surgical sites that may last into the evening; be careful not to bite your lip, cheek or tongue during this time. Rest and avoid any excessive activity for the first three days. You should not drive, work with machinery, consume alcohol or play sports for 24 hours following surgery; you are considered intoxicated.

Pain Management:

Some discomfort following surgery is normal, but the degree of pain may vary with each individual and is not necessarily related to the difficulty of the surgery. A prescription has been given to you, or phoned into your pharmacy to control and manage pain. This prescription should be filled and used as directed. Please see the medication section for more information regarding your pain medication.


A prescription for antibiotics may be  indicated following the removal of wisdom teeth. See the end of the medication section if this applies to you.


Varying degrees of swelling may occur as the body’s natural response to the surgical procedure. Again, as with the pain, the amount of swelling does not necessarily correspond to the difficulty of the surgery. It is not unusual to have limited jaw or mouth opening; this will improve.

The third day is often the turning point, as the maximum swelling has usually occurred by this time, if there is any. This is due to an anti-inflammatory medication wearing off in your system.
Apply ice to the surgical site for 48 hours. Ice the sites for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Use an ice pack covered with a cloth to prevent frostbite on the skin. You may be provided with ice packs, otherwise, small bags of frozen vegetables make excellent ice packs, as does small bags of rice (uncooked).

Apply heat to the surgical site starting on the third day. Use a hot water bottle, heating pad, or face cloth (wet and warmed in the microwave). Be careful not to burn the face, but apply heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time to the affected sides of the face. This will now improve the blood supply to the area, improve the circulation and minimize any residual swelling. The heat also relieves muscle spasm and facilitates easier opening of the jaw.


It is normal to experience some bleeding from the surgical sites. There are holes over the surgical sites, the stitches are not sewing the holes closed. The stitches are holding the gum tissue together. These stitches are dissolving and will fall out within 5 to 7 days. Bleeding is usually controlled using firm pressure over the surgical sites. This is usually achieved by biting firmly on gauze for an hour. If you suspect bleeding, have someone look in your mouth – if blood is coming out of the bottom holes or seen dripping from the upper sites, apply gauze as directed above. If this fails, use a dampened tea bag (the tannic acid promotes clotting) over the site and hold firmly for an hour. If no improvement, please call our office.


A soft diet is recommended following oral surgery. As soon as you get home, we suggest you have something to eat or drink; a milkshake (no straw), yogurt, Jell-O, ice-cream or juice. It is important to take in adequate nutrition to help with healing and to prevent weakness and low blood sugars. During the first 24 hours DO NOT drink hot liquids or eat hot foods. They must be at room temperature; luke warm and cold items are fine. We suggest you limit foods to things that are easy to chew. Suggestions are;

  • Yogurt
  • Jell-O
  • Ice-cream
  • Soups
  • Well-cooked pastas
  • Rice
  • Eggs (scrambled, poached{)
  • Mashed potatoes


Rinsing and Hygiene:

Good oral hygiene is one of the best ways you can avoid infection following oral surgery. Do not rinse, spit or use straws in the first 12 hours following surgery. These actions can result in the clots being displaced from the surgical sites and may activate bleeding. If a smoker; avoid smoking for several days, as this dissolves the clots which insulate and protect the surgical site.

The day following your Surgery, gently start rinsing with warm water mixed with ½ tsp. salt per glass or cup. Do not use anything stronger. Rinse after each meal and before going to bed, this mechanically flushes the holes of any food or debris. You may start brushing your front teeth when you start your rinses. Use a soft brush, an infant toothbrush is ideal as it has a small head and very soft bristles. Avoid the surgical sites for 48 hours, but then gently try to brush working further back in your mouth each day. Keep the rinses up until the hole closes in. If you feel you have food trapping or have an unpleasant, foul taste in your mouth, please call us.
Please keep Vaseline or chap-stick on your lips to prevent them from cracking or blistering.