Care following dental surgery
To insure rapid healing and to avoid complications that could be both harmful and painful to you, please follow these instructions carefully.
- BLEEDING: To prevent unnecessary bleeding, maintain gentle pressure over the socket by biting on gauze placed over the surgical site. You have been given a supply of gauze pads. If more are required, they are readily available in supermarkets and drug stores. A tea bag, which has been moistened and wrapped in a piece of gauze, is also effective. This procedure should be continued for 2-3 hours or until most of the bleeding has stopped. Change the pack every 15-20 minutes or when necessary. It is not unusual to have some slight oozing for up to 24 hours. Rest today and keep your head slightly elevated. Do not engage in physical activity since this promotes bleeding.
- MEDICATIONS: Unless you already have your medication, pick it up very soon and take as directed. Generally, a long-acting local anesthetic is used, which may prolong numbness and pain relief for up to 2-5 hours. Take a pain pill when you first feel discomfort. If sedative medications were administered, do not drive for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
- EATING: It is important to get adequate nutrition after surgery to help the healing process. You may want to start with fruit juices and then progress to a soft diet. Begin chewing foods when you are able to do so without it hurting. Where your teeth were removed, your jaw is now hollow and somewhat weaker than before. For that reason, you should not chew forcefully for 5-6 weeks. Doing so could bring about a bone fracture.
- RINSING AND BRUSHING: Do not rinse for the first 24 hours, since this will contribute to clot dislodgment and dry sockets. After 24 hours, rinse with warm salt water (1/2-teaspoon table salt to 8oz water) every few hours. Besides early rinsing, other actions that can contribute to loss of the clot and potentially painful dry sockets are using a straw and smoking. It is best to refrain from smoking for 4-5 days. Starting on the day after surgery carefully brush in areas of the mouth not affected by the extractions.
- ICE PACKS: To help prevent swelling, Ice packs should be applied on the sides of your face adjacent to surgery sites. This is especially important if bone was removed. To the extent possible, apply for periods of 20 minutes on and 5 minutes off until bedtime on the day of surgery. By 48 hours, swelling should be noticeably down. If it is not, check with the doctor. In the event of facial or neck bruising, its resolution can be expedited with frequent heat packs and massage.
- UNFORESEEN COMPLICATIONS: If you suspect any problems with the normal course of healing do not hesitate to call immediately. IF YOU SMOKE, AVOID SMOKING DURING THE FIRST WEEK AFTER SURGERY.
Delray Community Hospital Emergency: 561.495.3115
Sometimes patients develop such things as allergies to medications (generalized rash, itching, etc…) infection (foul taste, unusual or prolonged swelling), or dry sockets (throbbing pain occurring 3-7 days following the procedure). These and other potential problems are treatable if brought to our attention. If the doctor is not available to talk with you about a problem you are having, you can call (561) 495-3115. In our office, we are doing everything we can to make your surgery as painless and uneventful as possible. However, what you do or do not do following your surgery is important too.
DISREGARDING THESE SUGGESTIONS may lead to severe pain and discomfort.
CONTACT THE DOCTOR IF:
- Bleeding is excessive and cannot be controlled.
- Discomfort is poorly controlled.
- Swelling is excessive, spreading, or continuing to enlarge after 48 hours.
- Allergies or other reactions to medications occur.