Post-operative Instructions for Oral Surgery
Care of the mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing. Swelling, discomfort, slight oozing of blood, and restricted jaw movement may be expected depending on the extent and location of the surgery. These problems need not cause alarm and may be minimized if the following post–operative instructions are followed.
It is not unusual to have slight oozing for 24 hours and periodic bleeding for 10 days after an oral surgical procedure. If a folded gauze sponge has been placed in the area of surgery prior to you leaving the office bite on it with constant, firm pressure. After one 1/2 hour, remove the gauze. If there is continued profuse bleeding, place a new gauze or moistened tea bag over the area and bite down for 1 ½ hour. Do not place large bulky gauze packs for it will only put pressure on the adjacent teeth, and not in the area of bleeding. Do not replace the gauze if there is only slight oozing. Avoid spitting or rinsing your mouth on the day of the surgery.
Remember a drop or two of blood mixed with saliva may seem like a mouth full of blood. Place a towel on your pillow to prevent staining of your linen with blood, which will be in your saliva for several hours. Firm biting pressure and correctly placed gauze on the surgical area is the most effective means of stopping the bleeding.
Swelling will be at its greatest 2 days after surgery, and then the swelling will slowly disappear. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag to the operated side of the face as soon as you arrive home. Apply cold for 20 minutes, off for 10 minutes, and then continue for 2-3 hours.
Discomfort (or severe pain after any difficult or prolonged surgery) should be expected. Medication will be prescribed to make you comfortable. Severe pain lasting more than 3 days is not normal. Come in or call if this happens. Remember, after pain medication is swallowed, it may take an hour to take effect and may only work for 3-4 hours. It is therefore important to try to keep ahead of anticipated pain. The full dose of pain medication every 3-4 hours will be much more beneficial than smaller amounts taken more frequently. Ibuprofen and or Acetaminophen is preferred.
Do not take Aspirin as it will increase bleeding time.
Care of the mouth
Do not rinse your mouth on the day of surgery. This may dislodge the blood clot and interrupt the normal course of healing. The morning after surgery, rinse gently with very warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water). Repeat every few hours, especially after meals for 3-4 days. Be sure not to smoke, spit, drink through a straw, or use sport-style bottles as it may cause dry sockets, which may be painful.
You may prefer soft or liquid foods for your own comfort. Avoid foods that require hard chewing. It is very important to maintain a good dietary intake even if it is only liquids.
Nausea may accompany the discomfort during the initial post–operative period. Small sips of tea, 7-up, or ginger ale may help.
Refrain from exercise for 72 hrs post-surgery. After 72 hrs exercising may be resumed unless discussed otherwise. Avoid exercises that increase heart rate and inverting the head as they will cause a rush of pressure and may cause pain.
Immediate Denture Instructions
- Do not take the denture out until the morning following your extractions. At that time, after washing your hands, carefully remove the denture using both hands. Stand over the sink counter.
- Rinse the denture carefully under cold water. Then scrub both the inside and outside with the denture brush using only cold water. Do not use soap, denture cleaners, or toothpaste.
- Carefully put the denture on the counter and gently rinse your mouth using a teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. of very warm water. Do not expectorate forcefully.
- Put the denture back in your mouth. Go ahead and clean any remaining natural teeth as you normally would at this time.
- Repeat the above procedure for the next two mornings.
- On the fourth day after your extractions, you should take the denture out at bedtime. Rinse and scrub it as described above. Rinse your mouth again with warm saltwater. Put the denture in a denture cup/container and cover it with clean, cold water. Leave it there while you sleep. After rinsing it again, put it back in your mouth in the morning. Continue with the warm salt water rinses for at least 7-10 days.
- Continue to follow the Oral Surgeons instructions as well and continue taking your regular medications on schedule, unless directed differently by the Oral Surgeon or your Physician.
- You will need to have a liquid/soft diet for the first few days following the extractions/immediate denture placement (like soups, yogurt, pasta, eggs, potatoes, bananas, smoothies). Gradually begin to eat more solid foods as the first week progresses. Avoid really hard foods (like nuts, carrots, and pretzels) and really chewy foods (like bagels, dried fruit) during the initial healing period. Use a nutritional supplement like Ensure if necessary. Good overall health speeds up the healing process.
- If you have any sore spots please call your regular dentist for an adjustment to the denture.
- We will want to see you about one week after extractions to check early healing.
- After that visit, you may begin to use toothpaste or other denture cleaners on your new denture.
- In the next few months, as your mouth heals, the denture may become loose. You may need to use an adhesive during this healing phase.