PAIN MEDICATION – If you are instructed to take pain medications by your surgeon then you should take over-the-counter options like Motrin or Advil. Take 2 or 3 tablets in 6-hour intervals for the first two days. Start your first dose before the local anesthetic has worn off. Prescription medications can be used with the Motrin and Advil tablets as you need.
PROTECTING THE BLOOD CLOT– You should not rinse, smoke or drink with a straw for a minimum of 48-hours after your surgery is completed. If an antibiotic mouthwash has been prescribed to you then you can rinse gently the next morning.
SMOKING CIGARETTES WILL DELAY YOUR HEALING, CAUSE MORE PAIN AND INCREASE YOUR RISK OF AN INFECTION AND DRY SOCKET.
GAUZE PRESSURE—Place gauze over your surgical site and bite down firmly, ensuring that the gauze stays in place. You should not change the gauze for at least 30 minutes unless you are bleeding heavily. Once 30 minutes have passed then replace the gauze with enough to last another 30 minutes. After that point, you may change the gauze as often as you find necessary. This will usually be about every 20 to 30 minutes. For the most comfortable results, slightly moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff it.
ICE PACKS – Swelling is a condition often associated with oral surgery. You can use a cold compress or a bag of frozen peas to minimize the swelling by applying them to the cheek nearest to the surgical site. Apply the cold pack in intervals for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for the first three hours after your surgery. DO NOT USE A COLD COMPRESS AFTER THE FIRST 24 AFTER THE SURGERY HAVE PASSED.
DAY OF SURGERY
PERSISTENT BLEEDING – It is normal to experience mild bleeding or oozing during the first 24 hours. If you find it to be necessary, then you should reposition the gauze to the surgical site. If you are still experiencing persistent bleeding, then substitute the gauze for a tea bag (soaked in hot water and then squeeze it dry and wrap it in damp gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes. Call us if you continue experiencing persistent bleeding after a full hour of applying tea bags. Also, we advise that when you go to bed you place a towel over your pillow because a single drop of blood can turn an entire mouthful of saliva red.
MOUTH OPENING EXERCISES – A common condition after oral surgery is jaw stiffness. Use two fingers to stretch your mouth open each hour in order to reduce the amount of stiffness you experience.
MANAGING POST-OPERATIVE PAIN – There is some discomfort that will unfortunately always be associated with undergoing oral surgery that is why you may be prescribed a pain medication. The best way to minimize your pain is to take the first pill before the numbness has worn off. If you find yourself frequently taking a large amount of pain medication, please call our office. In order to get a refill, please call during normal weekday business hours. Please plan accordingly if you expect needing more medication over the course of a weekend.
NAUSEA – It is common for patients to experience nausea after receiving anesthesia or surgery. The most effective method for managing your nausea is to avoid eating any food until you feel hungry. In order to prevent yourself from becoming dehydrated.
If the medication you are taking to manage your pain is the cause of your nausea, try taking Maalox right before the medication and ensure that you drink plenty of water. It can also help you to keep drinking clear liquids and minimize the amount of pain medications you take, but if you do not feel better, give us a call. Drinking Classic Coca Cola can also help reduce your nausea.
POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS DAY #2 AND BEYOND
ORAL HYGIENE – Maintaining your oral hygiene after you have undergone surgery is essential. Make sure to use any prescribed mouth washes and rinse your mouth with saltwater. Dissolve one teaspoon in an eight-ounce glass of warm water and take five minutes to use the entire glass to gently rinse your mouth. Repeat this process as often as you would like to, but make sure that you rinse at least three times a day. Avoid using any commercial mouthwashes because the alcohol content in them will irritate the surgical site. Do not brush the surgical site for at least two weeks after your surgery, but we do recommend you floss and brush the rest of your mouth.
HEALING – The healing process typically follows a predictable pattern. You will typically experience the most discomfort and swelling during the first three days after your surgery. Once the fourth day arrives then you should be more comfortable, although you may still experience some swelling, and you can resume eating a more normal diet. After this point, your condition should gradually and steadily improve. Please give us a call if you are not experiencing continued improvement.
DRY SOCKET – A dry socket occurs when you prematurely lose a blood clot. There are a number of factors that increase the risk of a dry socket occurring, these include extracting painful or infected teeth, wisdom tooth surgery, smoking and taking oral contraceptives. Patients typically experience the symptoms of dry socket during their 3rd or 4th day after their operation. The normal complaints about dry socket include severe throbbing pain that does not respond to pain medication, and bad breath. If you find that you are suffering from this condition, then you will need to visit our office. During the visit, your surgeon will gently apply a medical dressing into your tooth socket. Once the site is treated, pain relief is often immediate, but you will often need a few visits.
SHARP EDGES – There is a chance that you may experience hard or sharp edges around your surgical sites. When this occurs, it is likely that you are feeling the bony walls that once supported the extracted teeth or the ends of the sutures. You may find that during the weeks after your surgery, small slivers of bones will work themselves out. This process is normal but if you are concerned or uncomfortable then please call our office.
We hope that your healing process will be as comfortable and easy as possible. These instructions will help you with this process, but please contact us if you have any questions about your progress. Calls during our regular office hours will get the fastest response. But there is a 24-hour live operator answering service if you are experiencing an after-hours emergency. PLEASE NOTE: Calls to renew your narcotic (pain killer) prescriptions must occur during office hours.