After Tooth Extraction
Now that your oral surgery is completed, follow these procedures to make yourself more comfortable, promote healing, and help prevent complications.
AFTER SURGERY: You will have gauze in place after your surgery; it should remain in your mouth for 20-30 minutes. Maintain pressure by gently biting on the gauze. Replace until bleeding subsides, this may take a few hours. It will ooze for about 24 hours, but you do not need to keep the gauze in for that entire time.
EXPECT OOZING: A small amount of bleeding or oozing is normal. If bleeding continues after you have removed the gauze, apply new damp gauze to the surgical site and bite down gently for 20 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding persists, bite on a moistened tea bag for twenty minutes. If bleeding still persists, call the office to speak with the doctor.
ICE: Apply an ice bag to your cheek or jaw 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for 24 to 48 hours.
FIRST 24 HOURS: Place ice chips, crushed ice, or ice cream to melt in your mouth. This thins out saliva, keeps the surgery site cold, and helps reduce swelling.
DIET: You may start eating as soon as you get home. First remove the gauze packing. For the first 24 hours have cold food and drinks (ice cream, yogurt, pudding, etc.). Stay on soft foods for a few days; then gradually progress to solid foods. A balanced diet is very important for healing.
AVOID: Drinking through a straw, spitting, vigorous rinsing, brushing, or smoking. These could possibly delay healing. Avoid contact with sick persons, as you are more susceptible to contracting a viral infection.
NAUSEA: Take 1 ounce of carbonated drink, such as ginger ale every hour for 5-6 hours. Then drink mild tea, clear broth, and soft foods before resuming your regular diet. Any pain medication may cause nausea and vomiting. It is important to have food in your stomach before taking pain medication. If prescribed nausea medication; take as directed. Call the office if nausea persists.
SWELLING: After 48 hours, if there is swelling or jaw stiffness, apply heat to the outside of your face using a warm, moist dressing. Do not use heat continuously- only 20 minutes out of every hour. Swelling peaks on the third day after surgery and should subside during the day. When you lie down, keep your head on two pillows- this will help reduce swelling.
24 HOURS AFTER SURGERY: Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm tap water. Allow water to remain in your mouth, but do not rinse vigorously because this may dislodge the blood clot and possibly delay healing. Rinsing flushes away food particles, which may be lodged around the surgery site. A toothbrush may be carefully used in areas of the mouth not involved in the surgery. A clean mouth heals faster. Continue rinsing after meals for 6-7 days.
SUTURES: If sutures have been placed, they will dissolve in 5-10 days. Occasionally, they will need to be removed by the doctor.
PAIN: Following oral surgery it is normal to experience some discomfort. If moderate to severe discomfort is anticipated the physician will prescribe pain medication. Take the medication as directed-avoid driving or the use of alcoholic beverages while taking pain medication. Do not hesitate to take pain medication if it is needed. It will help to make you more comfortable during the healing process.
ACTIVITY: If you had general anesthesia, there should be no coordinated activities, such as driving (or excessive physical activity) for 24 hours. Rest as much as possible.
TEMPERATURE ELEVATION: It is common to have a mild fever up to 24 hours post-operatively. Fluids and rest will resolve this.
STIFF JAW: Chew gum at intervals, especially while applying moist heat on jaw. This helps relax tension and brings relief. This can be started 48 hours after surgery.
SHARP BONY EDGES: If you feel something hard at the surgical site, you may think it is part of the tooth. This is the hard bony wall, which originally supported the tooth. Leave it alone and it will heal nicely. Persistent sharp edges may require trimming.
FLUID INTAKE IS IMPORTANT: Clear beverages, ginger ale, Seven-up, or Sprite, water, clear broth, soups, or juices are all suitable. Avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off, and the tingling has stopped. Drink plenty of fluids.
MEDICATION: Take any special medication we have prescribed on the special 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 may become ineffective, therefore take appropriate precautions.
Please call during office hours with any pain medication requests. New federal regulations do not allow narcotic pain medications to be filled by phone. All prescriptions must be picked up at the office.
BRUISING: Bruising marks may appear on the skin of the face during the first few days after surgery.