Postoperative Instructions

BLEEDING: Bleeding follows any surgery and should not alarm you unless it is excessive or persistent. Bleeding can usually be controlled by placing a firm roll of moist gauze directly over the bleeding area and exerting continuous pressure by closing the teeth firmly together for 30-45 minutes. Change the gauze every 30 minutes with continuous pressure until the bleeding subsides. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeeze damp dry and wrapped in a moist gauze) for 20 to 30 minutes.

PAIN: Most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication, and if you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you will be able to manage any discomfort better. If you do not achieve adequate relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. Remember that the most discomfort is usually within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic wears off. After that, your need for medicine should lessen. Be sure to continue all medications as directed on the label until finished, unless you develop nausea, vomiting, skin rash, or diarrhea. If any of these symptoms occur, stop the medication and call our office or the answering service.

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SWELLING and DISCOLORATION: These usually do occur following surgery. Swelling is usually the greatest 48 to 72 hours after surgery. It is helpful to keep the head elevated on extra pillow the first night after surgery. A cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area should be used. This should be applied thirty minutes on then thirty minutes off during the first 24 hours. Moist heat or a heating pad on a low setting can be used for the next 24 to 48 hours if desired.

DIET: After sedation, cool, clear liquids should be the first oral intake. If this is tolerated, the diet may be advanced. Temperature of food may be warm or cool, but avoid extremely hot foods. It is sometimes advisable, but not required, to confine the first day’s intake to bland liquids or pureed foods (creamed soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.). It is recommended not to use a straw for several days after the surgery. If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and heal faster. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible, and follow instructions from us or your physician regarding your insulin schedule.

MOUTH RINSES: Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Warm water rinses and normal oral care (flossing and brushing) should be adequate. However, saltwater rinses can be used if desired. After the first 24 hours, use one-quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking 5 minutes to use entire glass. Repeat as often as you like, but at least 2 to 3 times daily for next 5 days.

EXERCISE CARE: Do not disturb the surgical area the day after surgery. You may get food into an extraction socket following surgery. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any object or your fingers. The doctor can clean out the socket and teach you to do this at home during your post-operative appointment. You may brush your teeth gently. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours because it is very detrimental to healing and is a significant cause of dry sockets.

DRY SOCKETS: Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: the first day of surgery is the most uncomfortable, and there is some degree of swelling and stiffness. The second day you will usually be far more comfortable, and although still swollen, you can usually begin a more substantial diet. From the third day on GRADUAL, STEADY IMPROVEMENT should mark the remainder of your post-operative course. If a DRY SOCKET occurs (loss of blood clot from the socket, usually on the 3rd to 5th day after surgery), there is noticeable, distinct, persistent, throbbing pain in the jaw, often radiating to the ear and forward along the jaw to cause other teeth to ache. If you do not see steady improvement during the first few days after surgery, don’t suffer needlessly. Call the office, and report symptoms so you can be seen as soon as possible.

DENTURES PLACED DURING SURGERY: If dentures were placed during surgery, leave them in place. Generally, you will be seen within 24 hours, and the denture will be adjusted if sore spots develop.

Proper care following oral surgical procedures will hasten recovery and prevent complications. If any unusual symptoms or complications occur, please call our office at once, Bryan-College Station Office Phone Number 979-764-7101.

Download a PDF version of Post-Operative instructions here.Download a PDF version of our Liquid Diet Cookbook here.