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Extraction Post-Operative Instructions

Care of the mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing. Swelling, discomfort, slight oozing of blood and restricted jaw movement may be expected, depending on the extent and location of surgery. These problems need not cause alarm and may be minimized if the following post-operative instructions are followed carefully.

 

SMOKING

No smoking for 3 days. Smoking can cause dry socket and delayed healing.

 

BLEEDING

IT IS NOT UNUSUAL TO HAVE SLIGHT OOZING FOR 24 HOURS AND PERIODIC BREAKTHROUGH BLEEDING FOR 10 DAYS.

A folded gauze sponge has been placed in the area of surgery prior to your leaving the office. Bite on it with constant firm pressure. After 20 minutes remove the gauze. If there is continued bleeding, place a new gauze. Repeat every 20 minutes until bleeding has stopped. Do not place a large bulky gauze pack for it will only put pressure on the nearby teeth, and not in the area of bleeding. Do not replace the gauze if there is only slight oozing. If it is oozing, a moist tea bag also helps to stop bleeding. Avoid spitting and rinsing your mouth on the day of surgery.

REMEMBER, a drop or two of blood mixed with saliva may seem like a mouth full of blood so do not worry. Place a towel on your pillow to prevent staining of your linen with blood, which will be in your saliva for several hours. FIRM BITING, PRESSURE and a CORRECTLY PLACED gauze pack on the surgical area is the most effective means of stopping bleeding.

Avoid any strenuous physical activity for the next 2-3 days to prevent severe bleeding.

 

SWELLING

Swelling will be at its greatest 2 days after surgery, then the swelling will slowly disappear. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag to the operated side of the face as soon as you arrive home. Apply cold for 20 minutes, then off for 10 minutes. Keep repeating this for a few hours for 2 days.

If there is still some swelling after two days, switch to a heating pad instead of ice packs. Apply the heating pad in a similar manner. If you do not have a heating pad, you can use a wet wash cloth that has been heated in the microwave.

 

PAIN

Discomfort (or severe pain after any difficult or prolonged surgery) should be expected. Medication will be prescribed to make you comfortable. Take all your prescriptions as directed. Always eat some food before taking any medications. Severe pain lasting for more than 3 days is not normal. Come in or call if this happens. Remember, after a pain medication is swallowed, it may take an hour to take effect and only for 3 to 4 hours. It is therefore important to try to keep ahead of anticipated pain. The full dose of pain medication every 3-4 hours will be much more beneficial than smaller amounts taken more frequently. (Take ibuprofen 600 mg every 4-6 hours for the first THREE days regardless if you are having pain or not. Do NOT exceed 3000mg of ibuprofen per day.)

Take your antibiotics as instructed and finish the entire bottle. DO NOT stop taking the antibiotics, even if you feel perfectly fine. Misuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance.

 

CARE OF THE MOUTH

Do not rinse your mouth the day of surgery. This may dislodge the blood clot and interrupt the normal course of healing. The morning after surgery, rinse gently with very warm salt water (1/2 tsp. of salt in a glass of warm water). Repeat every few hours, especially after meals, for the next 3-4 days. This will speed up healing and soothe the gums.

Do not brush or floss the surgical site for at least 24 hours following surgery then brush but avoid caution for two weeks. Alternatively, use Peridex™ (Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.12%) oral rinse if prescribed or dispensed as a mouth rinse GENTLY after you brush other areas of your mouth to keep the surgical site clean.

No drinking through a straw or spitting. That means after you are done rinsing, GENTLY let the mouthwash or saltwater out of your mouth rather than forcefully spitting it out.

 

DIET

Stick to a soft food diet for 1 week after your procedure and eat on the opposite side of your mouth. You may eat things like yogurt, well cooked noodles, mashed potatoes, omelets, soup, steamed vegetables, milk shakes. DO NOT eat anything hard like chips, pretzels, or hard candy. Avoid any food/drink that is too hot, too cold, or spicy for THREE days. This is for your own comfort. It is very important to maintain a good dietary intake even if it is only liquids.

Do not play with the sutures(if placed) with your tongue. Do not lift your lip up to try to see where the surgery was done. Let the surgical site stay as still possible to ensure the best healing. You may have self dissolving sutures or may require removal after a few weeks of healing. If they become loose before you are scheduled to have them removed, please call the office.

 

POST OPERATIVE CONDITIONS

The following post-operative conditions may occur in some patients while healing is progressing normally.

  1. Swelling on one or both sides of the jaw;
  2. Numbness (paresthesia) around the corner of the mouth or tongue;
  3. Tightness of the muscles (Trismus) may cause difficulty in opening the mouth;
  4. Slight earache or sore throat;
  5. Skin may become discolored a few days after the operation.

 

Please keep in mind that it is reasonable to expect your normal activities to be disrupted following a surgical procedure.

Please do not hesitate to call the dental office if you have any questions or concerns.

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