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Post-Operative Instructions

The First 24 Hours:

Bleeding is to be expected

  • Bite on the gauze pack placed in your mouth to exert direct pressure on the wound.
  • Keep the gauze in place for at least 30 minutes.
  • If bleeding continues, replace gauze pack and continue direct pressure for another 30 minutes.
  • If bleeding still has not stopped, place a teabag in lukewarm water, squeeze out excess water and wrap it in gauze. Bite down on the wet teabag for up to 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag should help to stop the bleeding.

Do not disturb the wound

  • Doing so may cause discomfort, infection and bleeding.
  • Do not suck on a straw, smoke, blow your nose, rinse your mouth vigorously, or spit forcibly for 48 hours. Any of these activities may dislodge the important first blood clot and interrupt the normal healing process.

Avoid hot liquids and chewing solid foods

  • It is helpful to drink plenty of fluids – preferably warm or at room temperature.
  • Start with clear liquids (Sprite, 7-Up), progressing to soft foods (mashed potatoes, soup, soft eggs), which are best for the first hours.

Take medications as prescribed

  • To avoid stomach discomfort, be sure to eat or drink something before taking your medication.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may react adversely with your medication.

Rest; remain quiet

  • While resting, be sure to keep your head elevated at all times.
  • Greatly restrict any physical activity for the rest of the day.
  • Rest facilitates healing while strenuous activity may cause renewed bleeding for 7-10 days.

Use ice packs

  • Hold firmly over the affected area of the face to minimize swelling.
  • Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice and cover with a soft cloth to avoid skin irritation.
  • Apply for 20 minutes, with 20-minute intervals between applications.
  • Using cold packs is only effective for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Initially, please do not use heat on the affected area.

If you received intravenous (IV) sedation

  • Do not drive an automobile, operate machinery, sign any legal documents or return to school or work for the remainder of the day. Your skill or judgment could be impaired.
  • A responsible adult should attend to you while you are recovering.

Nausea and vomiting may occur

  • Sipping a clear soft drink (Sprite, 7-UP) may help.
  • Avoid caffeine and acidic fluids (fruit juices).
  • Please call our office if nausea and/or vomiting persist.

During the Next 4 Days:

Swelling is common

  • There is no cause for alarm.
  • Swelling may be considerable following dental surgery.
  • Maximal swelling occurs 72 hours after surgery. It should gradually resolve in 7-10 days.

Brush teeth gently

  • After the bleeding has stopped, continue to avoid brushing near the wound.
  • Do not use electric toothbrushes, water picks or toothpicks, as they may disturb the wound.
  • Elevated body temperature is not uncommon. Please notify our office if it persists.

Bruising and tenderness

  • These are very common on the face and neck after dental surgery. They will gradually disappear in 7-10 days.
  • Jaw stiffness and mild discomfort, as well as mild sore throat, may occur for a few days after surgery.
  • Corners of the mouth sometimes become irritated from stretching during surgery. Keep them lubricated with Vaseline.
  • After 36 hours, warm moist compresses applied to the affected area may soothe tenderness.

About sutures

  • If sutures are used, they may dissolve in several days. Although you may feel them with your tongue, it is best to leave them alone.
  • Do not become alarmed if a suture falls out.

Bone slivers

  • After teeth are removed, you may feel sharp projections in your mouth. These are portions of the tooth socket that have been released. The body will usually heal them.
  • They will usually disappear gradually; please keep your tongue off them.
  • If they are annoying, please return to our office for further examination.