Wisdom Teeth

Proactive removal can protect you

Third molars — commonly known as “wisdom teeth” — grow at the back of your jaw and are usually fully developed by the time a person reaches their late teens or early twenties. Unfortunately, it’s common for wisdom teeth to grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, or even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Poorly positioned or impacted wisdom teeth can cause a range of problems. Bacterial infection can lead to illness, while pressure from erupting wisdom teeth can disrupt the natural alignment of your other teeth. More serious tumors and cysts can form around wisdom teeth, leading to the destruction of your teeth and jawbone. To prevent these outcomes and protect your smile, we can remove problematic wisdom teeth before they grow in. An oral surgeon will see you for a consultation to determine whether removal is right for you. A special 3D x-ray (Dental Cone-beam Computed Tomography) may be necessary to determine the position of the teeth and proximity to nerves, and to avoid any future complications.

Should you encounter an emergency situation, there is an oral surgeon on call 24 hours a day who can be reached by calling our office number at 780-437-6777.

Before Anaesthesia

  • Please bring your Alberta Personal Health Card on the day of surgery.
  • Please do not eat or drink, not even water, on the day of surgery – from midnight on.
  • You must not drive your own car or travel home by bus. You must be accompanied home by a responsible adult. A parent or legal guardian must accompany minors.
  • Female patients please wear pants or shorts with a T-shirt. Do not wear nail polish or makeup. Please leave jewelry and valuables at home.
  • If necessary, use the bathroom immediately prior to general anaesthetic or conscious sedation.
  • If you wear contact lenses, please remove them before surgery. Bring a lens case with you.
  • Patients from out of town should be prepared to stay overnight in the city.
  • Refrain from smoking one week prior to anaesthetic and three days postoperatively.
  • Please notify our office of any colds, flu, etc.
  • Breastfeeding mothers may express breasts on the day prior to surgery and can resume breastfeeding 24 hours postoperatively.
  • If there is a chance you may be pregnant, make the office aware prior to surgery.
  • The person taking you home must be a responsible adult. They must come into the office to pick you up.
  • A responsible adult MUST remain with you for 24 hours postoperatively.

Failure to comply with the preceding instructions could result in postponement of your surgery.

While we make every effort to follow our planned schedule, unforeseen delays and schedule changes are inevitable. We appreciate that patients and their escorts allow extra time to accommodate these changes.

After Anaesthesia

Please familiarize yourself with this information prior to your surgery. Careful attention to these instructions will greatly assist your postoperative recovery.

Calls for prescription refills and routine questions regarding your surgery should be made during regular office hours (Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm).

Important Instructions Following Oral Surgery

Immediately after:

  • The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for 30 minutes. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anaesthetic becoming diminished.
  • Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
  • Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for explanation.


  • Medications: You’ll receive a prescription for a pain medication and possibly an antibiotic. Take the medications as prescribed on the bottle. It’s advisable to start the prescribed pain medication approximately two hours after surgery – before the freezing has left and pain is actually experienced. Your pain medication is best taken with food or fluid in your stomach, as pain medications taken on an empty stomach may cause an unsettled feeling and/or nausea and vomiting. For mild pain, non-prescription medications, such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, may be used – provided there’s no allergy or other reason to avoid them. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt. Some pain medications may cause dizziness. If this is the case you should avoid operating a motor vehicle and/or machinery, or participating in any activities where you may injure yourself or others while on these medications. Antibiotics should be taken until the entire prescription is used. If a rash or itching develops, stop taking the medication and call our office. Patients taking oral contraceptives should be aware that certain antibiotics can interact with oral contraceptives making them ineffective. Additionally, alternate means of birth control should be practiced for the remainder of the cycle. If bowel habits are irregular, a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia may be taken.
  • Swelling, Bruising and Discomfort: Swelling, bruising and discom¬fort may occur after surgery and are completely normal. Considerable swelling of the face and neck may result from the surgical removal of teeth. Swelling will increase for 48 hours, and then gradually subside. Most swelling and discomfort will be gone in about five days. Upon reaching home, place an ice pack on the face for the first 48 hours. Apply on and off for periods of 30 minutes at a time or simply switch the ice pack from side to side every 30 minutes. After 48 hours, heat should be applied in the same fashion. Use moist dressings, a hot water bottle, or heating pad. Swelling, bruising and discomfort may be greater on one side.
  • Bleeding: Some bleeding is to be expected. A gauze pad will be placed over the operated area to control the bleeding while the blood clots. It should be left in place for an hour after leaving the clinic. Then, remove and replace it with a new folded, moistened gauze pad placed directly over the operated site. Press firmly on the pad with your teeth, but do not chew on it. Repeat this two to three times at home. If you have an active flow of blood or if bleeding persists, place a fresh moist gauze roll or moist tea bag over the surgical site and bite with firm pressure for 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat if necessary and avoid spitting. While bringing bleeding under control lie quietly with your head elevated and do not go to sleep right away. If excess bleeding occurs or continues, call the office number. It’s not unusual to have blood on the gauze pad (sponge) for the day and night following surgery. It is also not unusual to have blood on the pillow or in the saliva for three to four days after surgery.
  • Limited Mouth Opening: This is a normal protective mechanism caused by accumulation of fluid in the jaw muscles to help healing. Limited opening usually subsides in two weeks.
  • Temperature Elevation: It’s normal to experience a temperature elevation of 38.5 °C (101 °F) for two to three days following oral surgical procedures and anaesthesia. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen can be used to reduce the temperature if there are no contraindications.
  • Nausea: Nausea may occur after an anaesthetic from some medications or from swallowing blood. If this occurs, dimenhydrinate tablets or suppositories may be purchased at your pharmacy without a prescription. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Flat Ginger ale, 7 Up or plain tea also alleviates nausea.
  • Diet and Nutrition: Following oral surgery your jaw may be stiff, or your mouth and throat area will be sore. You’ll be able to eat soft foods and drink fluids. To facilitate post surgical recovery and healing, your body requires adequate fluids and nourishment. It is not a good time to diet. It is critically important that you drink ample fluids, two-three liters/day, in small and frequent amounts. Fluid intake should start on the day of your surgery and can include water, fruit and vegetable juices, and soups such as chicken and beef broth. Diet supplements such as Ensure, Boost, or instant breakfast preparations are helpful starting the day following surgery. A vitamin supplement may also be taken. Avoid using straws for the first few days as they can stimulate bleeding by creating suction in your mouth. Take solid foods in a form that you can tolerate (blenderized, pasta, mashed etc.). Do not eat foods that break apart into sharp bits or foods with husks (peanuts, popcorn, hard candy etc.). They are easily lodged in the surgical sites and may cause infection and should therefore be avoided for two months. Eating hard or crunchy foods in the first four weeks after extractions or removal of third molars could result in a jaw fracture.
  • Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking and alcohol both delay healing and may lead to complications. Do not smoke or drink alcohol for at least one week following surgery.
  • Oral Hygiene: Do not rinse your mouth on the day of surgery as this can disturb the healing process and cause bleeding. Begin rinsing on the day following surgery. Use one tsp. of salt in eight ounces (250 ml) of warm water. Rinse frequently and always following meals. Baking soda in warm water and non-¬alcohol commercial mouth rinses may also be used. You can start carefully and gently brushing your teeth the day following surgery. The surgical “sockets” left after extraction of teeth normally take four to eight weeks to fill in and should be kept clean.
  • Bone Spicules and Mouth Ulcers: Occasionally bone spicules may be noticed in the surgical sites. These are usually not serious and will often disappear after several days. If they persist please call our office for a follow-¬up appointment. Mouth ulcers are sometimes seen after oral surgery. These usually last seven to ten days. They can be treated with baking soda mouth rinses (one tsp. baking soda in a glass of warm water).
  • Sutures: Dissolving sutures are routinely placed. These will dissolve and release in one to ten days. Loose sutures can be removed with tweezers or the long ends can be carefully trimmed.
  • General Anaesthetic Patients: Muscle stiffness and tenderness will occasionally result after the general anaesthetic. This is usually confined to the chest, back of the neck and back of the legs. This is not serious and will resolve after a few days. This can be minimized with rest. Ibuprofen can be helpful.
  • Numbness or Tingling of the Lips, Chin or Tongue: Numbness or altered sensation may occur in the lips, chin or tongue following oral surgery. This can occur secondary to postoperative swelling, or because of the closeness of the nerves to the surgery site. The numbness or altered sensation, when it occurs, can last for several weeks or months. In rare situations normal sensation may not return.

Postoperative Musts for Patients

  • You Must be accompanied home by a responsible adult who may either drive you home by car or take you home by taxi, not by public transportation. A responsible adult must stay with you for 24 hours following your anaesthetic.
  • You Must remain quietly resting, at home, for the remainder of the surgical day.
  • You Must, if you feel dizzy, immediately lie flat until the dizziness is gone. When you rise from lying down do so slowly, as rising too fast may cause you to faint. You should also be accompanied to the washroom.
  • You Must Not consume any alcoholic drinks for one week following your anaesthetic.
  • You Must Not consume any drugs affecting the nervous system or con¬sume any mood altering drugs – except those agreed to or prescribed by the surgeon or the anaesthetist for at least 48 hours following your anaesthetic.
  • You Must Not operate or be responsible for any machinery, power tools or sharp instruments or engage in any activity where you could harm yourself or others for 24 hours following your anaesthetic surgery.
  • You Must Not operate or be responsible for any motor vehicle or any boat for 24 hours following your anaesthetic.
  • You Must Not be responsible for or handle any firearms, explosives, or dangerous weapons or materials for 24 hours following your anaesthetic.
  • You Must Not operate or be responsible for any aircraft for four days following your anaesthetic.
  • You Must Not sign any legal documents or enter into any legal contracts or agreements for 24 hours following your anaesthetic.
  • You May experience chest, back and abdominal muscular discomfort, or a sore throat, following a general anaesthetic. These symptoms are not serious and will usually disappear in a few days.
  • In the event of any unexpected hospitalization within ten days following surgery please notify our office at (780) 437 6777.

Other Complications

  • If numbness of the lip, chin or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As stated before surgery, this is usually temporary in nature. You should be aware that if your lip or tongue is numb, you could bite it and not feel the sensation – be careful.
  • Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
  • Be careful going from the lying down position to standing. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute then get up.
  • Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. These are not roots, they are the bony walls that supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously.
  • If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as vaseline.
  • Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in two to three days.
  • Stiffness (Trimus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal postoperative event which will resolve in time.


We offer a full range of oral and maxillofacial surgery services — from dental implants and wisdom tooth removal, to corrective jaw surgery — with patient care provided in both office and hospital settings.