What to Expect after Wisdom Teeth Surgery

tooth - Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial SurgeryWisdom teeth surgery can be a scary proposition for many young patients who have never undergone IV anesthesia or any type of surgery. At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we encourage our patients to have confidence that all will be okay and that the removal of their wisdom teeth will be easier than anticipated. Our board-certified oral surgeons at NWOMS are highly trained and experienced in the administration of anesthesia and the extraction of wisdom teeth. To make the whole process go as smoothly as possible, we recommend the following:

Arrive at the oral surgeon’s office on time and with an empty stomach! If you didn’t follow pre-op instructions regarding food and drink, you will not be able to have surgery. Many people, including your caregiver and surgeon, will be disappointed, to say the least!

Your surgical assistant and surgeon will prepare you for surgery and will administer your intravenous anesthesia. Before you know it, you will be asleep and your wisdom teeth will be removed.

While you recover in the operatory, you will be closely monitored by your surgical assistant. Meanwhile, your surgeon will visit with your parent(s)/caregiver and review post-op instructions. Soon, you will be released, wheeled to your car and on your way home.

Once you are home, it is time to rest and recover. When lying down, keep your head elevated. Apply ice packs to your face. You can use a zip-top bag filled with ice, gel ice packs or even bags of frozen peas and corn. Apply the ice packs for 30 minutes at a time with a 10-minute break in between application.

Change the gauze out every hour as long as there is bleeding.

Follow your surgeon’s instructions for pain medication. Numbness will wear off within 6 to 10 hours. You may only need to take ibuprofen for the pain. Or you may need the stronger narcotic. Keep in mind that the narcotic may cause nausea and vomiting, especially when taken on an empty stomach.

You will probably be a little hungry, too. Drink cool liquids such as apple juice, Gatorade or water. (Don’t drink from straw, though.) Once liquids are tolerated, you can enjoy some soft food such as jello, pudding or ice cream. Strive to eat and drink normally to prevent dehydration and loss of energy.

Brush teeth as you normally would, but be careful around the surgical sites. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water about 5 or 6 times a day.

On Day 3, you can begin to use moist heat (a warm, damp towel) to help with swelling.

Refrain from strenuous physical activity for about 5 to 7 days post-op. This includes football, cheer, dance and band practice/performance. We will give you a doctor’s note to excuse you from participation.

Refer to the specific post-op instructions that were included in your take-home bag. Call your surgeon’s office if you have any questions or concerns. See below for what is normal and what is not:


  • Bleeding that can be controlled
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Dry and/or numb lips and stiff jaw muscle
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slight elevation of temperature
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness



  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • No gradual improvement
  • Persistence of pain
  • Worsening of swelling


We look forward to seeing you at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Visit texasoralsurgery.com for even more information!