Post-Operative Instructions



  FIRST HOUR:  Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed between the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not being controlled. If active bleeding persists after one hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30‐60 minutes. The gauze may be changed if necessary, lightly moisten the packs and place comfortably.  

MOUTH RINSES:  Do not disturb the surgical areas today. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the areas with any object or your fingers. You may brush your teeth gently. Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential in the healing process. You have been prescribed a mouth rinse that you will use first thing in the morning and before you go to bed for the night. This is very important in order to reduce bacteria. Starting the day after your surgery, you should use a warm saltwater rinse after you eat anything to keep the surgical sites clean. It will also help with any tenderness and soreness in the areas.  

   OOZING:  Intermittent bleeding and/or oozing are normal. It may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the incision(s) and biting down firmly for 30‐60 minutes.  

  STEADY BLEEDING:  Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, it usually means the gauze packs are not in the right areas. Try repositioning fresh gauze packs, lightly moistened. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in warm water with excess water squeezed out and wrapped in gauze) for 20‐30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please contact our office.  

  SWELLING:  Often there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize the amount of swelling by using ice packs on the outside of the face. The ice packs should be applied for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 48 hours only. After 48 hours, start using warm, moist heat.  

PAIN:  Unfortunately, most surgical procedures are accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication and should take your first dose after you remove the gauze and eat something. Start by taking one Ibuprofen then followed 2 hours later with the stronger pain medication. This should keep your discomfort to a minimum. Pain medications do affect each person differently, if you do not achieve adequate relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic or acetaminophen. Some people require taking two pain pills at once. Please remember when taking pain medication it is important to have something solid on your stomach to avoid stomach upset.  

NAUSEA:  Nausea is not uncommon after surgery, and is sometimes caused by strong pain medications. To prevent this, try eating small amounts of food and drinking large amounts of water with the pills. Call us if you do not feel better or if vomiting continues. Cola drinks with minimal carbonation may help.  

DIET:  It is often advised, but not required, to confine the first day’s intake to soft mushy foods (mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soups, pudding, etc...). For the first 24 hours avoid milk products (milk, ice cream, etc...), these foods can coat the stomach, reducing the effectiveness of the pain medications. AVOID foods like nuts, seeds, popcorn, or anything that can become lodged in the surgical areas. As you heal, you can begin consuming more solid foods. Proper nourishment will promote healing and help maintain your strength.  

BRUSHING:  Begin brushing your teeth as soon as possible after surgery. You can use your normal oral hygiene routine, however be gentle around the surgical areas. We also recommend running the bristles under hot water to soften them before you brush. The cleaner the areas are kept, the faster they will heal.  

DRY SOCKETS:  It is very important that you do nothing to cause a sucking sensation, such as spitting, rinsing, drinking through a straw and smoking for the first 24 hours. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours or longer, it is very detrimental to healing. If a dry socket occurs, there is a noticeable, persistent throbbing pain in the jaw, often radiating toward the ear and forward along the jaw, causing your other teeth to ache.  


 STRETCHING YOUR MOUTH:  During surgery the mouth is often propped open for a long period of time, which causes the facial muscles to constrict. It is very important to stretch your mouth open the day after surgery to help prevent painful muscle spasms.  

POINTS TO REMEMBER:  Normal healing after having a tooth extracted should be as follows: The first day of surgery is usually the most comfortable because you will be numb for most of the day. The second day is slightly worse with minor swelling and discomfort. The third day is usually the worst with pain and swelling. It is also very important to remember that some bruising may occur, which is typical and nothing to be alarmed about. If you follow these instructions as well as the instructions given to you by the doctor and/or dental assistants, your healing should be fast with little discomfort. However, if you should have any questions or problems after surgery, please feel free to contact our office or answering service.  


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