Exposure of an Impacted Tooth 

Post Exposure of Impacted Tooth Instructions

The exposure of an impacted tooth is a true surgical procedure.  Post-operative care is very important.  Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling may be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.  Sometimes the after effects of surgery are quite minimal, so not all these instructions may apply. When in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office at any time for clarification.


Some mild swelling in the gums, cheek, and jaw is a normal occurrence after any oral surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack or cold compress on the cheek adjacent to the area of surgery. Apply the ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 48 hours following your surgery. After 48 hours, begin applying moist heat packs to decrease swelling and stiffness.


Drink plenty of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic fluids. Avoid really hot liquids or food. Following your surgery, your diet should be limited to liquids and soft foods only. You may return to a normal diet as soon as you are no longer numb. Make every attempt to chew on the opposite side of your mouth until you are fully healed. 


The procedure to expose impacted canines will likely cause some degree of discomfort. If you were prescribed any medication for pain, you take it only for severe pain and do not abuse it, some medications may be addicting. It is advisable to take your pill(s) with a light meal to reduce the chance of nausea. The effects of pain medication vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief at first, you may supplement with an analgesic such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). 

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort. Warm salt water rinses (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) can be used at least 4-5 times a day, especially after meals. Be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas.

Other Complications

Do not be alarmed if there is numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue after your surgery. It is usually temporary but important you take care not to bite your tongue or lip while numb. Chewing solids is not recommended while you still feel numb because of this. 

A slightly elevated temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If a fever develops and persists, notify our office. Tylenol or ibuprofen may be taken to reduce the fever.

Be careful going from the lying down position to standing you may be lightheaded from the sedation and limited intake of food and liquids. Taking pain medications may also make you dizzy. You may feel light-headed when you stand up suddenly. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute and then get up.

Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will likely subside within 2-3 days.

Stiffness of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event which will resolve in time.

During the exposure of an impacted tooth, there is a possibility of sinus/nasal communication.  If this occurs, you may develop bleeding from the nose.  This is usually a temporary finding and usually will not persist past 2 or 3 days.

1 Week Post Surgery

A follow-up appointment in about 1 week will allow Dr. Hinckley to check the surgical site and see how things are healing. If you did not receive an appointment, please call our office so we can make you one.

If you have any questions regarding your condition, please do not hesitate to call the office.

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