After Surgery

When your oral surgery is completed, it is important that you follow these instructions to promote comfort and healing, and help prevent possible complications. This list should address the most common post-operative concerns. However, if you have immediate concerns which cannot be answered by these instructions, please contact the office.

  1. BLOODY SALIVA is possible for up to 24 hours and can be controlled by biting on a gauze pack placed over the surgical/extraction site for 30-60 minutes at a time. Repeat as necessary if active bleeding persists. If bleeding persists, wipe mouth clean, place a damp tea bag over surgery site and apply pressure for 60 minutes. Vigorous rinsing, spitting, smoking and strenuous activity can aggravate bleeding and should be avoided.
  2. A STITCH may come LOOSE and pull out during the first week after surgery. This is no concern unless excessive bleeding follows.
  3. SWELLING may occur and is part of the body’s healing mechanism. To help minimize swelling, apply ice immediately. Use the ice 20 minutes “ON” and 20 minutes “OFF”, for the first 24 hours during waking hours. Keep your head elevated on at least 2 pillows when sleeping or resting. Should swelling persist after 24 hours, apply moist heat to the area by using a wet washcloth or hot water bottle. Be careful not to burn the skin.
  4. Your PAIN MEDICINE is prescribed to be taken on an as needed basis. However, throughout the first day and night, it should be taken regularly. The first dose should be taken shortly after you arrive home. Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking pain medicine. If an antibiotic is prescribed to treat or prevent infection, be sure to take the entire prescription. Notify the office immediately if you have any problems with your medication.
  5. Following general anesthesia;
    1. No driving or operating machinery for the remainder of that day.
    2. We do not recommend going home and spending the day in bed or sleeping, as this will increase swelling and bruising. Limit naps to 1 hour periods and eat, drink, use ice, read, watch TV etc.
    3. You may experience a sore dry throat which will be relieved with cold fluids.
  6. Good ORAL HYGIENE will keep the mouth clean, help prevent infection and promote healing. Beginning tomorrow, rinse the area GENTLY with warm salt water (teaspoon in 8-10 oz. of water). You may use a toothbrush (run it under warm water to soften the bristle) to keep the area clean. If a little bleeding occurs, do not be alarmed, this should stop after a few minutes.
  7. Start chewing gum the next day, continuing for 3 days. This helps control soreness, stiffness and swelling.
  8. A good DIET will help promote healing. Allow hot liquids and food to cool to room temperature for the first 6 hours. You are encouraged to drink a lot of fluids, in addition to your meals, the day of surgery and the day after. Start your diet with soft foods. Advance to a regular diet as tolerated.
  9. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is quite different than the extraction of erupted teeth. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:
    1. THE AREA OPERATED ON WILL SWELL. This may take a day or two to develop.
    2. TRISMUS (TIGHTNESS) OF THE MUSCLES may cause difficulty in opening the mouth.
    4. YOUR OTHER TEETH POSSIBLY WILL ACHE TEMPORARILY. We refer to this as sympathetic pain. It is a temporary condition.
    5. IF CORNERS OF THE MOUTH are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with a cream or ointment.
    6. THERE MAY BE A CAVITY where the tooth was removed. This area should be cleaned gently, but thoroughly, with warm salt water. Avoid vigorous rinsing so the blood clot is not dislodged causing a dry socket. This cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue.
    7. THERE MAY BE A SLIGHT ELEVATION OF TEMPERATURE for 24 to 48 hours. If temperature continues, notify us.
    8. If after the third or fourth post-operative day, you develop a bad taste in your mouth, as well as an aching pain, you may have a dry socket. Call our office during the day for an appointment to treat this condition.