After Wisdom Tooth Removal

The removal of impacted teeth is an involved surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and complications, infection, and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully. We stress the importance of resting the first three days after surgery to have an easier and uneventful recovery.

Day of Surgery

Patients who receive anesthesia should go home immediately and lie down with their head elevated. Anesthesia effects vary by individual. You may feel drowsy or sleep for several hours. Someone MUST stay with the patient for the first 8 hours. The patient should be assisted into the house and going to the bathroom. The patient is not to drive that day.


The patient will leave our office with gauze in place and extra gauze will be sent home with the patient. The gauze should remain in place until you arrive home. Once home, the gauze can be changes every 30-45 minutes until the bleeding stops. When changing the gauze, moisten with cold water and place directly on the site. Once the bleeding has stopped, the gauze may be left out.

Bleeding is normal and usually stops within a few hours; you may have blood-tinged saliva for 24 hours. Heavy bleeding is uncommon. This may be controlled by wetting the gauze with ice water and biting firmly down for 15-20 minutes.  Repeat 3-4 times and the bleeding should subside. If bleeding continues, call our office. Your driver was also given Dr. Capes’ business card with his personal cell phone number. Dr. Capes will always call and check on you the night of your procedure.

Pain and Medication

Numbness will last several hours after surgery to help with comfort. Take the first pain pill three hours after your procedure before the sensation returns, take 1 Ibuprofen 600mg tablet three times daily. If pain is not controlled, please call Dr. Capes. Remember to take medications with plenty of food and water to lessen side effects.


Swelling is to be expected and usually reach its maximum around 48-72 hours after your procedure. To minimize swelling, an ice pack should be applied on the outside of operated area for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off while you are awake. On your third day post op from surgery, swelling may peak which is normal. Start using any form of moist heat to help eliminate swelling and to aid in muscle stiffness. If bruising does occur, it should subside around day 7.

Orthodontic Appliances

If you wear an orthodontic appliance, you may continue to wear as soon as it is comfortable. Do not leave them out for an extended period of time as the teeth can shift and make it difficult to reinsert appliance.


On your first day post-surgery, limit your diet to mostly liquid, soft non-chew foods. After the first day, continue to drink plenty of liquids (NO STRAWS FOR 7 DAYS) and continue with soft foods for 5 days. You want to avoid hard crunchy foods, like nuts, popcorn, or any food that may be lodged in surgical sites. Some examples of soft foods are: oatmeal, mashed potatoes, soups, puddings, yogurt, scrambled eggs, etc.

Possible Post Surgery Effects

Dry socket is when the clot that is covering the surgical site is lost or does not form properly. This may occur around day 4-5 after surgery. A noticeable and persistent pain will develop that will be severe and not relieved by pain medication. Keep in mind, day 3 is typically the worst day. You may experience radiating pain to the jaw, neck, and ear. If there is no improvement, please call our office for assistance.

Skin discoloration may occur at the surgical site, this is normal and all part of the healing process.

Numbness is loss of sensation of the lip, chin, tongue and may occur after the lower wisdom teeth are removed. This usually is temporary and resolves over the next few days to weeks. Rarely, some numbness may persist for months or be permanent due to the close association of the nerve that runs through lower jaw. If you are having these symptoms, we will assess at your follow-up appointment.

Nausea/vomiting can sometimes occur after surgery. If you experience either of these, please call our office and we can get a prescription called into your pharmacy.

Oral Care and Hygiene

  1. Do not drink with a straw for seven days
  2. Do not brush area for 5 days, brush your other teeth normally
  3. After 24 hours start gentle, warm salt water rinses 3-4 times daily for 7-10 days
  4. Do not smoke 3-5 days after surgery
  5. Do not probe areas with your tongue or any other object

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your progress or any symptom you are experiencing, please call our office. You can reach Dr. Capes 24 hours a day by calling this number and he contact you as soon as possible.

Contact Our Friendly Oral Surgery Team for Elevated, Comfortable Care

We know oral surgery can be intimidating, but we're here to give you an excellent smile. Our oral surgeons are highly experienced, so you can rest assured that we'll take good care of you. If you have questions or want to schedule a consultation, don't hesitate to reach out to us!

Call St. Simons Island Office: (912) 634-6600 Call St. Marys Office: (912) 439-3841 Appointments Map & Driving Directions