Patient Instructions

An impacted tooth is a tooth that has become displaced and cannot erupt normally into the mouth. Impacted teeth can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, and they may require special procedures to be properly exposed and cared for. If you have recently had an impacted tooth exposed, it is important to follow specific post-operative care guidelines to minimize complications and promote healing.

Bleeding And How To Stop It

After exposure of an impacted tooth, there will likely be some minor bleeding. This is a normal occurrence after surgery. To stop the bleeding, simply bite down on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes. If the bleeding persists then replace the gauze for an additional 30-45 minutes. It is normal to have some bleeding for 24 hours. If the bleeding does not stop after this time, please call our office.

Dealing with Swelling

To help reduce swelling, apply a cold compress to the outside of your face for 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off. Repeat this as necessary for the first 24-48 hours after your procedure. After 72 hours, you can switch to using a warm compress if desired. (Note: DO NOT put an ice pack or bag of ice directly on your skin, use a barrier like a cloth.)

Pain Relief Options

You may experience moderate pain and discomfort after exposure of an impacted tooth. Use narcotic pain medications, if prescribed, for pain relief. Make sure to take the prescribed medication as directed. DO NOT drive or operate heavy machinery if you are taking pain medication.

As an alternative to the narcotic pain medication, you can take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen as directed.

Oral Hygiene and Salt Rinse

It is essential to practice good oral hygiene habits while your wound heals. This includes brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush and being careful around the surgical site. You should also use a warm salt water rinse after meals and before bed to help keep the area clean and promote healing. Simply mix ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Remember, a clean wound heals faster, so keep up with your oral hygiene routine while the surgical site is healing.


Some people experience nausea after surgery, which is a normal reaction to surgery. If this occurs, stay hydrated by drinking clear liquids like ginger ale or Sprite. Avoid solid foods until the nausea subsides. It may take several hours for your stomach to settle down. Anti-nausea medication can be prescribed as needed. Call to get a prescription to help alleviate the nausea.


You should stick to a soft food diet for the first few days after your procedure. This includes foods like soup, mashed potatoes, yogurt, pudding, and applesauce. Avoid hard or crunchy food and hot liquids until your mouth has healed.

Foods to avoid:

  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Acidic Foods

Physical Activity

You should avoid any strenuous activity for 5-7 days after your procedure. This includes activities like working out, running, or playing sports. If you exercise and bleeding occurs, simply apply pressure to the area and repeat the instructions from “Bleeding and How to Stop It.” 

No Smoking

It is essential to avoid smoking after your procedure. We recommend not smoking for 24 hours after your procedure. Smoking can delay the healing process and increase the risk of infection.

Warning Signs

If you experience any of the following warning signs after an impacted tooth exposure, it is important to contact us immediately:

  • A large amount of bleeding that does not stop with pressure
  • Severe pain that gets worse instead of better with time
  • High Fever
  • A wound that looks infected (pus, redness, or facial swelling)


On the day of your surgery you should not do any physical activity. Rest and keep head and shoulders above the level of your heart. You should avoid strenuous activity for 5-7 days after your procedure to reduce the risk of bleeding and complications. Walking is okay, but try to avoid any physically demanding activities.

Going Back to Work

You will likely be able to return to work 3-5 days after your surgery, as long as you don’t have a physically strenuous job. If your job requires physical labor, you may need to take a few more days off to recover. You should be able to return to normal activity a week after surgery.

Keep In Mind

  • The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensation in your face and mouth, including the area around your wisdom teeth. In some cases, this nerve may become irritated or damaged from the extraction. If you experience any numbness after surgery, please contact our office.
  • Fever immediately after wisdom tooth removal is not unusual. However, after several days a persistent fever could indicate an infection. If you experience a fever several days after surgery, contact our office as soon as possible.
  • After surgery, your jaw may feel stiff or slightly sore. This condition is called trismus, and it is common after wisdom tooth removal and will typically resolve after one to two weeks.

You may notice a small cavity where your tooth was removed. This is simply the hole or socket left after the tooth has been extracted and will eventually fill in with new tissue.

Take Care of Your Health

After exposure of an impacted tooth, it is important to take good care of your health while the wound heals. This may include taking the prescribed pain medication as directed, keeping your mouth clean by practicing good oral hygiene habits, and avoiding foods that could irritate the area or delay healing.

Be on the lookout for any signs of infection or complications, such as excessive bleeding or severe pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact our office for instructions on how to treat your symptoms. Call AZ Max Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons at (480) 830-5866.

Dr. Boyse talking to a patient about what to do after exposure of an impacted tooth.