Instructions Following Wisdom Teeth (3rd Molars) Removal


  • Upon arriving home, please discard the gauze packs that were placed in your mouth at our office. You do not need to replace them unless you begin to bleed heavily. A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following a surgical procedure. Please refer to the instructions provided by Costello Oral Surgery, and call our office if you need assistance or have questions.
  • For a few days following surgery, you may become dizzy when getting up. Sit up slowly, and give yourself a minute to adjust before getting up and walking.
  • Avoid vigorous activities for 7-10 days after surgery. You may go back to your normal routine as tolerated. You may experience a throbbing achiness after a busy day. To minimize this, make sure to drink adequate fluids throughout the day, take over-the-counter medications on schedule as advised by your surgeon, and rest as much as possible in an effort to maintain a resting heart rate.
  • Please fill any prescriptions you have been given and take as directed. If you have been prescribed narcotic pain medication do not drive, operate heavy equipment, work around machinery or tools, or engage in any other activity that may be unsafe when groggy, as your reflexes and judgment will be affected by the medication.
  • If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medicine as directed.
  • Swelling and stiffness are expected to increase in the first 72 hours following your surgery, after which they will begin to diminish. Applying a cold compress to the face near the extraction site will help minimize swelling. If using an ice pack, please do not apply ice directly to your skin but place a cloth between the ice and your skin at all times.  You may apply the cold compress for up to 20 minutes on and at least 20 minutes off as needed. Discontinue use of the cold compress after 72 hours, as they will have no further impact on swelling.
  • For 3-5 days following your surgery, do not drink from a straw, or forcefully spit fluids from your mouth during the first 72 hours. Avoid hot and spicy foods, carbonated and alcoholic beverages.
  • During the first few days after surgery, restrict your diet to soft foods and liquids such as soups, juice, and smoothies. Avoid eating foods with pits and/or seeds until the surgical site(s) heal fully, approximately 2-3 weeks.
  • Do not rinse, spit, or brush your teeth on the day of surgery. Resume brushing the day after surgery, avoiding surgical sites with the toothbrush.
  • After brushing, rinse gently with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with eight ounces of warm water). Start the salt water rinse the day after surgery and repeat after meals and snacks for 2-3 weeks. This will help keep the surgical areas clean and will also help dissolve the sutures. If you take medication to control your blood pressure, please rinse with warm water only, NO SALT.
  • If you are experiencing numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue, be aware that this is usually temporary in nature and normal feeling should return after a few days. Until then, please be cautious while eating and chewing in order to avoid accidentally biting your tongue, cheek or lip. Please call our office if these symptoms persist.
  • Please call the treatment coordinator if you are concerned or think you are experiencing a dry socket. Symptoms of a dry socket include throbbing pain at the surgical site, the ear, chin, adjacent teeth, and/or jaw.
  • Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns. Of course, if you are experiencing a serious or life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.