After Exposure of an Impacted Tooth

Do not disturb the wound. If surgical packing was placed, leave it alone. The packing protects the surgical area and helps to keep the tooth exposed. If it gets dislodged or falls out, do not be alarmed, but please contact our office for instructions.


Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding that rapidly fills your mouth with blood can frequently be controlled by biting with pressure on a moist gauze pack placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30-60 minutes. To replace the gauze pack(s), take two pieces of gauze, fold in half and moisten with water so they are damp, and fold in half again. Place the gauze pack(s) directly over the surgical site(s) and apply pressure for 30 minutes.


Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag or a plastic bag filled with ice cubes on your cheek near the area of surgery. Apply the ice as much as possible (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) for the first 36 hours.  Elevate your head on a couple of pillows when lying down. Please be aware that swelling may increase for up to three days following surgery.


Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid using a straw for the first 24 hours.  Soft foods (applesauce, scrambled eggs, pancakes, mashed potatoes, soup, pasta)  are permitted on the day of surgery when feeling returns to lips and tongue. Avoid the surgical site when chewing.  Advance to other foods as you feel comfortable, avoiding hard, crunchy foods for a few days.

If you were sedated, we recommend starting your post-operative diet with clear liquids (water, fruit juice, 7-Up, Jell-O, broth.) You may gradually introduce soft foods if tolerating liquids well.  We do not recommend dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream, or milkshakes on the day of surgery as nausea and vomiting may develop in conjunction with the anesthetic and pain medication. 

Pain Medication

You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off, usually in a couple of hours.  Always try to eat or drink something before taking any medication.  For moderate pain, you may try an over-the-counter pain reliever.   If the over-the-counter pain reliever is not effective enough, you may supplement it with the narcotic pain medication if prescribed.   We recommend waiting three hours after taking the over-the-counter medication before taking the narcotic. It is important to stagger the doses so you are not taking them both at the same time. Do not drive or operate machinery while taking narcotic pain medication.    


If you are prescribed an antibiotic, begin taking it after eating dinner or in the evening. Take as directed until gone. To avoid nausea, do not take all medications at the same time.

Oral Hygiene

Oral cleanliness is essential to good healing. Do not drink through a straw, rinse or spit vigorously, or smoke for the first 24 hours. Clean your mouth thoroughly after each meal beginning 24 hours after surgery. Brush your teeth normally avoiding the exposure site(s).  Rinse with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) six times a day. Continue this procedure until healing is complete.

REMEMBER: A clean wound heals better and faster.


The sutures are dissoluble and will begin to fall out on their own in four to five days.


Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs or if you get light-headed,  you should discontinue exercising. Be aware that if your normal nourishment intake is reduced, your energy may be diminished.