After Oral Surgery

The Day of Surgery

  • Some degree of discomfort and pain arises as numbness subsides. We recommend beginning the use of the prescribed oral pain medication prior to the numbness wearing off. Any pain medication can cause nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you have some food in your stomach before you take them. Please do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription pain medication. Do not wait for the pain to become unbearable before using some form of pain medication, as it will be more difficult to control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 24 – 48 hours, and there should be no more than slight pain or discomfort after the 3rd day. Persistent or increasing pain 4-5 days following oral surgery may be caused by early loss of the blood clot (dry socket) or infection. If you feel this may be happening to you, please contact us so that we can help make you more comfortable.
  • Do not disturb the area of surgery. The first stages of healing are aided by allowing tissues to rest. Avoid vigorous chewing, excessive spitting, or rinsing as initial healing may be delayed, active bleeding restarted, or infection introduced.
  • Bleeding- A small amount of bleeding or oozing is to be expected even up to 24 hours. These conditions are no cause for alarm. Following oral surgery, a small sterile gauze compress was placed on the wound and you were asked to maintain steady biting pressure on the gauze to help slow bleeding. If excessive bleeding should occur, the following procedures should be done:
    • Gently wipe excess blood from the mouth.
    • Place a clean gauze pad directly over the area which is bleeding and maintain steady firm biting pressure on the gauze for 30 minutes. If not successful, repeat procedure with gauze soaked in a strong solution of tea (or bite on a moist tea bag) for another 30 minutes. Tea has an ingredient that promotes blood clotting.
    • Remain quiet, sit upright, and apply an ice pack to the face.
    • If these measures do not succeed, call the office or the after-hours emergency number.
  • Limit physical activity during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Over exertion may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort. When you lie down, keep your head elevated on a pillow. Most patients can resume normal activities in 3-4 days.
  • Swelling related to the surgical procedure usually develops during the first 12-24 hours following surgery, often increasing on the second and third day. It should begin to subside by the fourth day. Swelling can be minimized a great deal by wearing an ice pack on the side of your face for 30 to 45 minutes every hour while you are awake during the first 24 hours following the surgery, unless you receive special instructions. To be most effective, the application of ice packs should begin as soon as possible.
  • Fluid intake is important. We suggest you start with clear carbonated beverages, such as ginger ale, Seven-Up, or Sprite. Once your stomach has settled, you can advance to other fluids such as water, teas, soda, broth, soups, or juices. Also avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off, and bleeding has stopped. It is important to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid using a straw for several days as it may cause the blood clot to dislodge and delay healing.
  • Food selection is largely a matter of your choice. Soft, cool foods that require little or no chewing are most easily tolerated at this time. A nutritious diet throughout your healing process is most important to your comfort and temperament. Since you will be taking medication, it is important to remember that eating can prevent nausea sometimes associated with certain medications. Once your stomach is settled, soups, broiled fish, stewed chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, eggs, and cooked vegetables can be added to your diet as comfort indicates. Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast, and yogurt supply excellent added nutrition.
  • Take any antibiotics we have prescribed on the specific dosing schedule. Yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus should be taken while on antibiotics to prevent diarrhea. It is important to take the antibiotics to completion. If you are given antibiotics and take birth control pills, you should be aware that the birth control pill may become ineffective. Therefore, take appropriate precautions for the remainder of your cycle.
  • Take any regularly scheduled medications (for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) on your regular schedule unless advised to do otherwise.
  • Avoid smoking completely, as it tends to slow the healing process and may also contribute to the development of a dry socket.
  • Do not drive an automobile for 24 hours following surgery if you have had IV sedation, or if you are taking prescription narcotic medication. (Such as Norco or Tylenol #3)
  • If you were informed that a sinus communication occurred during the surgery, as a result of the close relationship between the roots of your upper teeth and your sinuses, or if you have had some surgery that involved work near your sinuses or in your sinuses, please follow these instructions:
    • Do not blow your nose.
    • Do not sneeze through your nose. If the urge to sneeze arises, sneeze with your mouth open.

The Day Following Surgery and Thereafter

  • The day after surgery, start rinsing your mouth carefully with a solution made by adding ½ teaspoon of salt to a large glass of warm water.  Repeat 3 times a day until remaining soreness subsides, or one week.  Resume brushing gently around the area of the extraction to avoid inflammation in the area.  Please do not use a syringe or WaterPik® to rinse aggressively for the first week.  This can dislodge the blood clot.
  • Do not worry about stitches.  Sutures were placed to control bleeding and aid in healing.  Generally, they dissolve on their own 3 to 7 days after being placed.  If they fall out hey do not have to be replaced.
  • For several days following most oral surgical procedures, the jaws become stiff.  Any swelling, soreness, or stiffness of the jaw muscles can be relieved by applying a warm, moist towel to the affected side of the face several times a day.  Moist heat should be used after the first 24 hours.  If swelling, tenderness, or pain should increase after the first few days, call the office.
  • Bruising marks may appear on the skin of the face or neck during the first few days after surgery.  It will disappear after a few days.  Discoloration is normal and is no cause for alarm.  Moist heat application will help relieve this condition.
  • A soft diet may be necessary for the first few days following surgery. Most patients are able to resume regular food intake within a short time.

Faithful compliance with these instructions will add to your comfort and hasten your recovery.  Be sure to follow these instructions carefully.  This will help you avoid the complications which lead to unnecessary discomfort and delayed recovery.  Should any undue reaction or complication arise, notify the office immediately.