After Exposure of an Impacted Tooth

Home Instructions After Impacted Tooth Exposure

After Impacted tooth exposure, do not disturb the wound. If surgical packing was placed, leave it alone. The packing helps to keep the tooth exposed. If it gets dislodged or falls out, do not get alarmed but please contact our office for instructions.


You should reduce your activity and avoid strenuous exercise the day after your procedure. This helps to reduce risk of bleeding and will permit the formation of a healthy clot in the socket, which is necessary for healing. You may then return to normal activity when comfort allows.


Some oozing of blood may continue for a short time after your procedure and may even persist until the next day. If you feel that there is more than minor oozing, look at the area. If there is a clot sticking out of the socket or blood visibly flows from the wound, then take a clean gauze pad and gently remove any old clot from the site, fold new gauze over the site and close your teeth tightly over the gauze so that there is pressure against the bleeding spot. Hold this in place for 1-2 hours. If necessary repeat or use a black tea bag over the site in place of gauze. Bleeding less than this usually stops on its own. If bleeding persists, call the office.


Some swelling is normal after a surgical procedure and peaks at 2-3 days. To minimize swelling apply ice to the surgical site 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours. Sleep with your head elevated with 2-3 pillows at night. Apply Vaseline or Chapstick to your lips to keep them moist.


Postoperative pain will vary between persons and for different types of procedures. The local anesthesia (numbness) may last for several hours. You will sometimes be provided with a prescription medication for pain which you should take as directed only when and if needed. Otherwise, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) will provide excellent pain relief. Alternatively, Tylenol can be used if you cannot take ibuprofen. Children should always use children’s strength medicine. Always follow the dosing instruction on the package unless we have instructed you to do otherwise.


It is important for you to maintain adequate nutrition and hydration while you recover from your procedure despite some temporary limitations. Wait until the local anesthesia (numbness) has worn off before eating food that requires chewing. Do not chew over the surgical site until you are advised that it is safe to do so. Liquids, custards, pudding, etc. are acceptable as soon as the gauze is removed. Let comfort be your guide, but start with soft foods such as well-cooked pasta, fish, overcooked vegetables, eggs, etc. During the first few days avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, chewy, or contain small particles such as seeds or nuts. Avoid using straws for the first week.


Begin gently brushing your teeth the day after your procedure. Avoid brushing the gums or sutures near the surgical site to prevent the area from opening. Flossing near the surgical site should be avoided for the first week.


The blood clot should be given time to form and should not be disturbed. Therefore, the mouth should not be rinsed the day of the procedure. After the first day, warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water) should be used to rinse the mouth four times each day for one week. Avoid vigorous mouth rinsing which can dislodge the blood clot. Depending on the type of procedure, you may be prescribed a prescription mouth rinse which you should use after brushing your teeth and rinsing with salt water.


If you are a smoker, you are at risk for delayed healing. Smoking should be discontinued for at least the first 7 days after surgery to minimize pain and promote healing. 


Call us if you think something is not right. Reasons for concern would include things such as uncontrolled or prolonged pain, unexpected swelling, uncontrolled bleeding, or uncontrolled nausea/vomiting. If after hours and the problem cannot wait until the office opens, the doctor can be reached promptly by calling the office.