Post Operative Care
Sometimes, the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification at 281-334-9000.
Patients who have undergone I.V. sedation SHOULD BE CAREFULLY ATTENDED by a responsible person for at least SIX hours after leaving the office. The patient IS NOT PERMITTED to drive or operate machinery on the day of surgery.
DIET A cool to cold liquid diet (Jello, pudding, ice cream, etc.) should be maintained for the rest of the day following your surgical procedure. DO NOT SPIT, USE STRAWS, SMOKE OR BLOW YOUR NOSE for one week after surgery. Please try to avoid liquids that contain food particles. If you do get food particles in your mouth on the day of your surgery, please remove the particles by GENTLY rinsing with cool water. The day following your surgery you may start a soft food diet (mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, grits, etc.). The second day after surgery, you may advance to a more normal diet if your condition allows. It is important not to skip meals! If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor. Do NOT eat or drink with gauze in your mouth.
RINSING AND BRUSHING Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth until the morning after surgery in order to prevent dislodging of blood clots and delay or retard healing. The day following your surgery, you should begin rinsing your mouth gently with a glass of warm, salt water (one-fourth teaspoon to a glass) three to four times daily. Continue rinsing each day until your post-operative visit. You may start brushing your teeth as usual the day after surgery avoiding the operated areas. An irrigating syringe will be provided at your post-operative visit. If an irrigating syringe is given the day of surgery, it should NOT be used until the 5th day after surgery. Warm salt water should also be used with the irrigating syringe.
BLEEDING Bleeding follows any oral surgery procedure and should not alarm you unless it is excessive or persistent. Bleeding can usually be controlled by placing a firm roll of gauze over the bleeding area and exerting FIRM PRESSURE by closing the teeth together. Gauze should initially be changed about every 30 minutes. It is best to moisten gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning. Bleeding should decrease throughout the day to where the gauze should be changed less frequently. Once bleeding has stopped, the gauze can be removed. Slight oozing for 24 hours after surgery is normal and it is not unusual for your saliva to be blood-tinged for one or two days following surgery. If bleeding continues, despite the use of several applications of gauze, a moistened tea bag may be placed over the surgical site for 30 minutes followed by a clean gauze for an additional 30 minutes. Patients should NOT eat, drink, or sleep with gauze in their mouths. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.
NAUSEA AND VOMITING Nausea and vomiting is not unusual following sedation and oral surgery. Nausea and vomiting are usually caused by a combination of the medications used for sedation, the narcotic in pain medication, and swallowing blood after surgery. These symptoms will usually pass within 6 to 12 hours after surgery. Nausea and vomiting may be relieved by staying in a semi-reclined position and remaining as motionless as possible. A clear liquid, such as sprite or 7-up, over cracked ice may help and medications should not be attempted on an empty stomach. If anti-nausea medicine has been prescribed, you may take the medicine as directed for the nausea.
PAIN – A certain amount of discomfort is to be expected following oral surgery. This varies with the severity of surgery required. The drugs that have been prescribed usually effectively control it. However, the effects of pain meds vary widely among individuals. It is advisable to take the pain pills when you arrive at home prior to the cessation of local anesthetic after eating. Pain medication may be repeated as directed and should be taken before pain becomes unbearable. You may supplement each pain pill with an analgesic, such as ibuprofen as directed. It is advisable NOT to take medications on an empty stomach as this may cause nausea and vomiting. Do NOT drive while on or taking pain medications. If antibiotics have been prescribed, please take as directed on the label until all the medication has been completed. Should you develop nausea, vomiting, skin rash, or diarrhea with any prescription medication, please stop the medications and contact our office immediately.
SWELLING AND DISCOLORATION– These are a part of the healing process and unless extreme, are of no practical importance. Place an ice-bag, cold pack, or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and apply firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area for the rest of the day (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off). Continue this for 24 hrs. The earlier this is started, the more effective it will be. Swelling is usually the greatest 72 hours (3 days) after surgery. A heating pad or moist heat may be used after 24 hours for the relief of swelling or stiffness. It is helpful to keep the head elevated on several pillows following surgery. Swelling varies among individuals, and it is not possible to know how much swelling will occur.
SHARP EDGES If you feel something hard or sharp edges in the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls which once supported the extracted teeth. Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following week or so. If they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.
SUTURES (STITCHES) Most stitches used are dissolvable and do not require removal. Usually the stitches will begin to loosen and fall out before dissolving within a week after surgery.
DENTURES If dentures were placed at the time of surgery, they should be kept in place for 24 hours straight without removal unless otherwise instructed. Patients should sleep with dentures in their mouth the first night ONLY after surgery and then wear them ONLY during the day afterwards in order to prevent pressure sores or ulcers.
FOLLOW-UP It is imperative to keep your follow-up appointment with the doctor. Even if you do not have stitches to remove or you are feeling fine, the doctor will want to see if you are healing properly. If you cannot keep the appointment, please call to reschedule.
It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Proper care following oral surgical procedures will hasten recovery and prevent complications. If any unusual symptoms or complications occur, please call our office at once. A 24-hour answering service is available to contact the doctor after hours, but you MUST listen to all options and prompts before making your selection to reach the doctor. Calling during office hours will afford a faster response to your question or concern.
PLEASE NOTE: Telephone calls for narcotic (pain killer) prescription renewal are ONLY accepted during office hours.
Again, if you experience any complications following your surgery please contact our office as soon as possible by dialing: 281-334-9000.
281-334-9000 / 24 hours a day