After Third Molar (wisdom) Tooth Removal

what you should expect

  • Swelling is normal and usually peaks around 48 hours after surgery.
  • Jaw stiffness may be present for several days, commonly for a week.
  • Soreness of the jaw and surgical site should be expected.
  • A constant, deep, throbbing discomfort which may radiate to the ear and other teeth on the same side and begins 2-3 days after an extraction in spite of taking pain medications may indicate a “dry socket” condition.  Call our office so we can assess this for you.

on the day of surgery

  • Maintain firm biting pressure on the gauze pads covering the extraction site for 20-30 minutes.  Replace this as necessary, gradually lengthening  the duration of time of use.  You may stop using the provided gauze pads when it is light pink in color.
  • Some oozing of blood is normal for up to 24 hours following surgery.  If bleeding is heavier, a moistened cold black tea bag can be placed directly over the bleeding site.  Bite firmly for 20-30 minutes.  This can be repeated 2-3 times.  If bleeding persists, please call our office.
  • Do not rinse your mouth vigorously or spit forcefully in the first week as this may stimulate bleeding.
  • Apply ice packs to the jaws/face over the surgical sites for 20 minutes.  Leave ice packs off the face for at least 10 minutes before re-applying.  Cold therapy is helpful to minimize swelling  in the first 48 hours after surgery.
  • Eat cold, soft foods and drink sufficient fluids, however do not drink through a straw.
  • Reduce physical activity and get adequate sleep.
  • Do not smoke or vape.

on days following surgery

  • After using ice for the first 48 hours, use warm, moist compresses (a heating pad set no higher to “medium” can be used) over the area(s) for 10-15 minutes per hour.
  • After 48 hours, soak the affected area(s) using a total of 12 oz hot saline solution (1/4 teaspoon salt in 12 oz of hot water) over a minimum of 10 minutes.  Doing this 4 to 5 times per day will help reduce swelling /discomfort and accelerate the healing process.
  • Resume brushing teeth carefully.
  • Soft foods of any temperature which are high in protein and vitamin content are recommended for several days.  You may advance your diet to normal when you are able to do so, except for hard, crunchy or crispy foods.
  • Do not exercise or play sports for 3-7 days following surgery (exactly when you resume activities will depend on your specific situation).


  • Pain medications should not be taken on an empty stomach.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery while taking prescription pain medication.
  • If an antibiotic has been prescribed, take it as directed until completely finished.
  • If nausea occurs, drink small amounts of a clear, carbonated beverage (7UP, Sprite) frequently.  If it persists, please call the office.
  • Should you develop itching, rash or hives, discontinue all medications and contact us immediately.