Post Operative Instructions
Bleeding: Bite down on a piece of gauze to help a blood clot form and control bleeding. Continue to change the gauze for the next few hours every time the gauze becomes saturated with blood until bleeding has mostly stopped (the gauze is mostly white with only a little bit of red). Before removing the gauze from your mouth, make sure it is totally saturated with liquid. If it has become dry, have something to drink so that the gauze becomes saturated. This will make removing the gauze easier as well as prevent the clot or stitches, if any, from being removed as well. A small tinge of blood in your saliva for the first 24-48 hours is usually normal. Excessive talking or chewing can cause the site to continue to ooze.
Immediately following surgery:
- Do not disturb the wound. In doing so you may invite irritation, infection, or bleeding. Keep your fingers and tongue away from the surgical site.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking can interfere with the healing process, promote bleeding and is the leading cause of a very painful situation known as a dry socket.
- Do not spit or suck through a straw. The pressure from any sucking or spitting motion will promote bleeding and may dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not brush. You may begin brushing your teeth again the following day after surgery, however do not directly brush the surgical site for 2-3 days as doing so may dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not rinse. Avoid all rinsing for the first 24 hours after surgery to avoid dislodging the clot. After the first 24 hours, you should very gently rinse with warm salt water, (approximately 1 tsp of salt to 8ozs. warm water), after meals and before bed to help flush out any food that may be trapped in the extraction site. Avoid using mouthwash for about 4-6 weeks. Mouthwash can cause irritation to the surgical site. After 4-6 weeks you may use mouthwash normally again.
- Do not exercise. Your activity should be limited because increased activity can lead to increased bleeding and discomfort. Rest quietly for the first 48-72 hours. Keep your head elevated slightly when lying down. Gradually ease yourself back into your normal activities after 2-3 days. Due to activity, talking and chewing, post-operative discomfort may be increased at the end of the day.
Diet: For the first 24-48 hours, you should maintain a soft food diet. No straws, temperature hot or spicy foods, and no chewing. If you eat before the numbness has worn off, be sure to eat with someone or in front of a mirror to avoid biting, pinching or scratching your cheeks, tongue, or lips as this could cause serious trauma to the soft tissue. It is very important to maintain a nutritious diet after surgery to promote healing. After the first 24-48 hours, you may begin gradually easing solid foods back into your diet.
Medication: Some discomfort is normal after surgery. Analgesic tablets such as Tylenol or Motrin (Ibuprofen) or non-aspirin can be taken as you normally would for a headache or as directed by the doctor. Avoid aspirin as it may increase bleeding (except where directed by your physician). Prescription medication, which may have been prescribed for you, should be taken as directed from the doctor.
Swelling: Swelling usually takes approximately 48-72 hours to peak. To reduce swelling, you may use an ice pack on the outside of your face in the area of the extraction for the first 12-24 hours alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. After the first 24 hours, ice will not prevent swelling, but may be used to soothe the area.
Pain: Pain that lasts for 1-2 weeks but gradually improves should be considered normal. Pain that seems to be getting worse after the first 3 days should be considered abnormal and may require an evaluation by the doctor. Report any unusual occurrences immediately by calling the office. Your jaw may be sore from holding your mouth open during surgery and may last up to 2 weeks. Massage the joint muscle gently, eat soft foods and do not over extend opening your mouth as it can further aggravate this area.
Birth Control: Birth control pills may not be affective during the cycle in which you are taking antibiotics. You will need to take additional contraceptive precautions during that cycle.
Important: If you have any questions regarding these instructions or need any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact our office. If you experience excessive bleeding or swelling, persistent and severe pain, fever, or any reactions to mediations you should contact the doctor immediately. An after-hours number is provided on the office voicemail recording. If you experience a medical emergency call 911.