After Exposure of an Impacted Tooth

Home Instructions After Impacted Tooth Exposure

This page will cover important post-operative information for adherence after the exposure of an impacted tooth. If you are undergoing this procedure, it is important to follow these instructions exactly to ensure optimal healing and quick recovery.

After your surgery, do not disturb the wound or the packing that is placed inside in your mouth. This packing is in place to keep the tooth exposed; however, do not be alarmed if this packing falls out or moves from its original positioning. If your surgeon has attached a small gold chain to the impacted tooth, it is essential that your orthodontist activates the chain as soon after your surgery. If this chain becomes dislodged from the tooth, please contact our office immediately.

A small amount of bleeding is common for up to 24 hours. If you experience excessive bleeding (where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood), place a gauze pad directly over the surgical site and hold it in place with firm biting pressure for 30–45 minutes or until the bleeding can be controlled. If your bleeding does not slow, please call our office.

Swelling is normal after surgery and is a major cause of discomfort. Swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the side of your face off and on for the first 24–36 hours. Do not freeze the skin. These measures will not eliminate swelling, but they help to reduce its severity.

If you are not allergic or intolerant to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, start taking ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) as instructed by your surgeon at the time of your surgery. If you are asthmatic, do not take ibuprofen unless you have tolerated it in the past. If your pain is not controlled by the ibuprofen alone, take your prescribed narcotic as instructed. Ibuprofen and your prescribed narcotic can be taken together. Be certain to take your pain medicines with food; this will help prevent nausea. Remember, narcotic pain medicine will impair your judgment and reflexes, and you cannot drive or operate machinery while taking it.

It is important to drink fluids after your surgery. Start with clear cold liquids, such as apple juice, or water. You should eat only soft, cool (no more than warm) food on the day of your surgery (for example, soups, eggs, and mashed potatoes). Gradually build your appetite back up to normal eating habits as soon as possible unless otherwise directed. Avoid hard, crunchy foods that can cause bleeding or injury until you are healed.

Begin brushing your teeth and cleaning your mouth the day after surgery. It is important to brush all of your teeth, even if the teeth and gums are sensitive. Bacterial plaque and food accumulation near the surgical site will delay healing. Be careful not to damage or manipulate the surgical site. Begin saltwater rinses the day after surgery and continue until the surgical site heals. Rinse with warm salt water 3–4 times each day. To make the saltwater solution, dissolve a ½ teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm tap water.