Post-Operative Instructions

Third Molars Extraction

Now that your surgery has been completed, follow these instructions to make yourself more comfortable, promote healing, and prevent any possible complications.

Read all items carefully!

Day of Surgery

For the first one or two hours after surgery make sure the gauze remains in place. Bite firmly and do not spit. Check the gauze every 15-20 minutes and change as needed. This process can usually be discontinued within one to two hours of the surgical treatment or as long as needed. Bleeding is controlled by simple pressure and it is important to remember that a little bleeding and oozing is to be expected. If you run out of gauze, a warm moist teabag can be used as a substitute. If the bleeding becomes persistent, please contact the office.

Use an icepack or cold towel on your cheek/jaw (20 minutes on – 20 minutes off)- close to the surgical sites. This procedure should be repeated during the initial 24 hour time period following surgery.

Suck on ice chips or crushed ice for the first twenty-four hours. This helps to keep the surgical site cold which will in turn help to reduce swelling.

Keep your head elevated with one or two pillows and rest as much as possible over the next day or two.

If the patient becomes nauseated: Sip room temperature bicarbonated soda or ginger ale and check the position of the gauze to ensure blood is being absorbed. If nausea persists, (1-2 hours later), then call the office with a pharmacy number so a medication for the nausea can be called in!

Take your medications as instructed!

Day Following Surgery

Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in an 8oz glass of warm water. Gently use this solution to rinse your mouth. Repeat the process approximately five times a day until you are seen for your follow-up appointment. This process promotes cleansing and healing. The gentle rinses will flush away food particles that may have become lodged around the surgical site.

Swelling can be expected after a surgical procedure and may occur within 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. The swelling can be accompanied by jaw stiffness. To help relieve this discomfort, apply warm moist heat to the area (use a hot water bottle, or a warm compress). Do not use the heat continuously: apply approximately 20 minutes each hour. Chewing gum, especially when applying the warm moist heat may help relieve the jaw stiffness. This helps relax tension and brings relief. Begin chewing gum as needed 24 hours following the surgical procedure.


A nutritionally balanced diet is important. During the first twenty-four hours after surgery eat soft foods which are easily chewed and swallowed. Avoid citric acid products(i.e. orange juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, or lemonade). Soup, milkshakes, and carbonated drinks are okay but do not drink anything through a straw. Meats, vegetables and fruits can be blended to make eating easier. Gradually work your way back up to your normal diet being careful not to skip any meals. You will feel better, gain strength and have less discomfort if you maintain a normal diet. If you are diabetic, maintain your diet and take your medication as usual.

The following conditions may occur – all are considered normal:
  • Swelling
  • Sore Throat
  • Earache
  • Trismus – difficulty in opening of the mouth
  • Numbness on the side of the mouth in which surgery was performed
  • Bruising or discoloration

Contact the office

Contact the office if any of the above mentioned conditions becomes persistent.


Medications Generally Prescribed and How to Use Them
  • Pain reliever

    Start this medication as soon as you return home following food intake. Take one tablet every 4-6 hours as needed unless directed otherwise.
  • Antiobiotics

    Do not take antibiotics with pain medication. Antibiotics should be taken four times a day unless directed otherwise
  • Anti-Swelling Medication

    This medication will be taken four times a day for approximately two days. The purpose of this medication is to reduce the amount of swelling and keep it to a minimum.. The medication will not prevent swelling.


Females taking birth control pills should note that additional measures should be utilized while taking antibiotics. Patients who smoke increase the risk of developing a "dry socket" after extraction(s) or have delayed soft tissue healing. It is our suggestion that this habit be curtailed for 2-3 days following surgery to safeguard your surgical outcome.


If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the office! (904) 246-6545