Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth pulled, but those that do should go to a trusted and licensed dental surgeon to reduce your risk of infections or complications. There are various reasons why a patient may need to have their wisdom teeth pulled. According to Dr. Kami Hoss, DDS, MS, the most common reasons are: pain in or around the location of the wisdom tooth, impacted tooth, and bite and jaw issues, which may not be present at the moment, but could occur down the line.

Some patients choose to have one wisdom tooth removed first before proceeding to the next one after a couple of weeks or once they have fully recovered from the first extraction. But whether you have both teeth removed at the same time, or you choose to undergo a separate surgery for each tooth, Dr. Kami Hoss strongly recommends that you take extra care of the surgery area after the procedure to ensure proper and timely healing. Usually, the patient can go home after the surgery, but they need to be driven home by someone because they might still feel weak after the procedure. And since the patient won’t be monitored 24/7 by hospital staff, it is important to strictly follow the surgeon’s or dentist’s instructions to prevent post-procedure complications or infections.

Below are the top three care tips you should be mindful of following your oral surgery, as recommended by Dr. Kami Hoss:

Refrain from physical and strenuous activities for the next 48 hours

Physical activity is especially restricted if the patient chose to be sedated during the procedure. Apart from feeling weak, and even disoriented, immediately after the surgery, patients need to allow the surgical wound to heal properly. This means refraining from doing anything that will further encourage bruising, swelling, or bleeding. Physical activities also put the affected side of the face at risk for being accidentally hit or bumped, which could prolong healing or worse, cause bleeding. Dr. Kami Hoss strongly advises a complete rest for the next 48 hours.

Change gauze pads as soon as they get soaked with blood

It’s important to keep the surgery area clean and sanitized as much as possible, and this basically means changing the gauze pad about one hour after the surgeon applies it, and then again as soon as it gets soaked with blood. The patient is also advised to gently bite down on the gauze pad from time to time to apply pressure to the extraction area. Dr. Kami Hoss warns that bleeding persists after the first 24 hours, you should consult your dentist or doctor immediately.

Take pain medication as instructed by your doctor

The next day or two following your surgery will be the most painful. The doctor will prescribe pain medication to provide relief and to down the swelling. Usually, pain medication is taken at three to four-hour intervals, or four to six-hour intervals, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, you should take these as instructed, carefully following the schedule given by your doctor.

If you have further questions about post-surgery home care, please feel free to contact Dr. Kami Hoss at your convenience.