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After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom teeth removal is both serious in nature and routine in practice. The procedures are invasive and can be complicated if your wisdom teeth are impacted (stuck in your gums and unable to erupt), but these surgeries are also very common. We perform them in our office every day. The key to a successful recovery is being prepared ahead of time and then following the aftercare instructions carefully.

Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Be well-prepared for a successful oral surgery recovery by doing a few simple things in advance.

Food and Drink

  • Do not eat or drink anything the morning of your procedure.
  • Stock up on smooth, pureed, and soft foods, such as apple sauce, Jell-O, yogurt, ice cream, and oatmeal to enjoy as you recover.
  • Avoid straws when drinking after surgery. Using straws can dislodge the clot that covers your extractions site, resulting in a very painful condition called dry socket.

A Responsible Adult

  • Line up someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You’ll likely have some form of sedation that will prevent you from driving home.
  • Plan to have a companion stay for the duration of the surgery and then at home, available to help you when needed. Please inform your driver to not leave the office to run errands while you are in surgery.


  • Schedule a day or two to take it easy. Set up a comfy place to watch Netflix and relax.
  • Cancel all plans to engage in physical or school activities.

Day of Surgery

  • The most important thing you can do the day of surgery is rest.
  • Have someone serve you ice cream or a smoothie before you take pain medications. Remember to use a spoon rather than a straw, as any sucking movement can disrupt the healing process.
  • Keep gauze over the surgical site until the bleeding stops, changing it every half hour and removing it when you eat.
  • Use ice packs 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to reduce swelling the first 24 hours.
  • Refrain from touching or brushing near the wound. Allow a blood clot to form over it.
  • Keep ahead of the pain by taking over-the-counter pain medications every six hours.

Post-Surgery Tips for Parents

Here are the 5 most important steps parents should take to ensure the best recovery possible for their teenager:

  1. Set them up on the couch to rest the first few days.
  2. Provide them with soft, smooth, and cool food.
  3. Manage their pain proactively.
  4. Have them gently rinse with saltwater at least 2-3 times a day. Diluted mouth rinse may be used periodically to freshen your mouth (dilute by half with water).
  5. Do not allow them to use straws, smoke, or engage in strenuous activity the first 5 days.

Week of Surgery

  • The day after surgery, you are free to start rinsing with a warm cup of salt water and brushing your teeth, avoiding the surgical site.
  • Drink plenty of liquids since you’re eating less. Adequate hydration is very important. Dehydration can cause you to have a fever.
  • Continue your soft-food diet.
  • Consistently rinse the extraction site with the syringe during days 3-10.
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