Day of Surgery
Bite down firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled. The packs may be gently removed after one hour. If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another hour. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 45 minutes to an hour). It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning. There will be some oozing and slight bleeding for the next 12 to 24 hours. Sometimes as the anesthesia wears off you will notice an increased amount of bleeding. If you have an excessive amount of bleeding, apply hard pressure to the area with a damp tea bag for at least 30 minutes.
Following any surgical procedure, especially oral surgery, there will be a certain amount of swelling. Swelling often increases for the first 3 days. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 36-48 hours after surgery. If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed.
- If you have been given a prescription for antibiotics, it is to prevent infection and help the healing process. Please take all the medication according to the instructions.
- If you experience diarrhea, rash, swelling or any other adverse effects, please discontinue the medication and contact the doctor.
Anti-Inflammatory/Mild Pain Reliever
- You should take the mild pain reliever/anti-inflammatory medication according to instructions. This will help with healing and reduce the amount of the strong pain medication that you will need.
- Some discomfort after surgery is to be expected. You have been given a prescription for a narcotic (strong) pain medication. It will be helpful to take the next dose before the local anesthesia (numbness) wears off. This will reduce the amount of discomfort you will have. If discomfort is severe, you may take the second dose ahead of schedule. After this, take the medication as needed according to the prescription.
- Take this with narcotic pain medication to avoid nausea.
- If you have been given a steroid medication, it is to reduce dramatic swelling and aid in discomfort. Please take this medication as prescribed.
The Days After Surgery
Medication: Continue to take your medication as prescribed. Some patients find that pain medicine may cause nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances that nausea are reduced. Constipation may occur with narcotic type drugs. If this persists for over 48 hours, a mild laxative should help. PLEASE CALL if you have any questions about your medication. CAUTION: Pain medication usually contains a narcotic and may impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery.
Care: DO NOT disturb the surgical area today. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 2 weeks, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket. You can begin to lightly brush and floss your teeth the day after surgery. Avoid brushing and flossing in the surgical area until the stitches are removed. You may gently rinse 3-4 times a day with warm salt water in your mouth without swishing. Use 1 teaspoon of salt per eight ounces of warm water.
Healing: Normal healing after tooth extraction should proceed as follows: The first 2-3 days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some degree of swelling. By the fourth day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be GRADUAL STEADY IMPROVEMENT. If you don’t experience continued improvement, please call our office during business hours so we can assist you.
Pain: Oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. Remember that the most severe pain is usually within six hours after the local anesthetic wears off.
Nausea: Nausea sometimes occurs after surgery. Often, prescription pain medications are the cause. This can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food, and taking the pill with a large volume of water. Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize dosing of pain medications, but call us if you do not feel better.
Sharp edges: If you feel something hard or sharp (in the surgical areas) with your tongue, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls which once supported the extracted teeth. Occasionally, small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following week or so. They are not pieces of teeth that have been left in. If they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.
Diet: Eat any nourishing food that can be eaten with comfort. AVOID EXTREMELY HOT FOODS. DO NOT USE A STRAW for the first week after surgery. It is advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, milk shakes, etc.). It is best to avoid foods like nuts, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods. It is important not to skip meals. If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor. NOTE: Be sure to drink plenty of clear fluids, especially while taking medications. Please do not drink through a straw.