Listed below are the post-operative instructions for all oral surgical procedures.
Bleeding is controlled by biting on gauze pads, especially for the first hour or two after surgery. Remember that pressure is the key to stopping bleeding. Please bite on the gauze for about one hour and then remove it. If the bleeding stops, do not put any more gauze in your mouth. However, if the bleeding persists, place more gauze in for about 1 hour with pressure and keep repeating this until the bleeding stops. You may place a couple of tea bags wrapped in gauze if the bleeding is persistent. Additionally, do not sleep with gauze in your mouth.
Swelling is diminished by the application of ice packs to the area, alternating ½ hour on and ½ hour off (ice also helps to control any bleeding during the first day). Icing the surgical site to minimize swelling only has a practical effect for the first 24-36 hours after surgery, so further use of ice after that is not helpful. The swelling usually peaks in about 3 days after surgery and then begins to decrease.
Continue to take any prescriptions from your medical doctor, as well as those prescribed for your surgery. If you are taking a narcotic pain prescription, do not drive a car or performs activities that require you being alert. It is also important that you do not take sedative medication along with narcotic pain medication unless this was discussed at your visit. Do not drink alcohol while taking narcotic pain medication!
Beginning the day of your surgery, you should rinse with warm salt water several times a day as well as after eating. You may start to brush your teeth after surgery, but be careful around the surgical site as only light brushing around the surgical site is indicated. You can floss normally around all teeth except around the teeth in the surgical site.
Avoid very hot foods or drinks for two days as that may provoke bleeding. It is best to have a normal diet (calories and nutrients) as soon as possible although it may have to be a softened diet for several days. If you had an implant(s) placed, do not eat anything hard over the implant site for about 3 months. Following oral surgery, many patients fail to take in enough protein or fluids which leads to fatigue and mild dehydration. Scrambled eggs, tuna casserole, yogurt, and even “power drinks” are just some examples of protein with a soft consistency. Please view your protein and fluid intake to be as necessary for your recovery as any prescriptions you are taking.
Your return to work or recreation must be guided by your level of strength. The pressures of today’s busy lifestyles work against better healing in that regard. The rate of healing is affected by many factors, only some of which are within our control. But a major controllable factor is merely “listening to your own body.” Different patients heal at different rates, depending on his or her physical and medical condition. Even the same patient heals at different rates depending on his or her physical reserves. Many people mistakenly feel that they “should” heal at the same rate as a family member or a friend. Don’t place that unnecessary psychological frustration on yourself. Rest until you feel your strength return.
Please call our office immediately if the numbness persists the next morning or if numbness begins within 3-4 days post-surgery.
Lastly, if you smoke, please do not smoke for 5 days from the time of your surgery. Smoking can cause a dry socket which is a painful condition that warrants further treatment.