Post Operative Instructions
After your procedure, there are some things to note to ensure your recovery goes smoothly.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected after surgery. Slight oozing or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. If sutures were placed, they will dissolve and fall out in approximately 3-7 days.
Following surgery, gauze pack(s) will be placed at the surgical site(s). You will be sent home with extra gauze. Bite firmly on the gauze and keep in place for 30 minutes, then remove. It is normal for this gauze to be soaked with saliva and blood. Replace the gauze pack by folding new gauze into a small, thick piece and placing it over the surgical site. If bleeding persists, continue to replace the gauze every 30 minutes for the first few hours after surgery. Firm pressure with the gauze pack will help to establish the blood clot.
To prevent choking, do not leave gauze in your mouth while sleeping or eating.
Rest with your head elevated and do not exert yourself, to help minimize bleeding. Ice your face near the surgical site(s). Avoid excessive spitting. If bleeding continues, biting on a moist black tea bag for 30 minutes can help constrict blood vessels. It can take 8 hours for the clot to fully form.
Postoperative swelling usually peaks 3 days after surgery, and then begins to resolve. Most swelling will resolve by 7 days.
To reduce swelling, apply ice packs to the outside of the face near the areas of surgery for the first 48 hours, keep your head elevated, take Ibuprofen (if able).
It is not uncommon to have slight stomach upset after intravenous anesthesia or while taking medications. To help prevent nausea in the first few hours after surgery, start with clear liquids and slow food intake. Eat at least 4 oz of food 15 minutes before taking any pain medication and/or antibiotic to prevent nausea.
If vomiting occurs, it is usually a one-time event to clear the stomach. Even small amounts of blood on an empty stomach can cause some people to vomit. If you should have persistent nausea and vomiting, please contact us using the phone numbers provided.
After your surgery, you should begin eating as soon as tolerated. Begin with soft, easy to chew foods (soups, applesauce, protein drinks, yogurt, Jell-O, ice cream, mashed potatoes, noodles, eggs, etc.) and advance your diet as you feel comfortable. Avoid hard, crunchy foods for at least one week.
Avoid using a straw, sucking on hard candies, popsicles, etc., for 1 week after your procedure, as the suction action may dislodge the blood clot in the surgical site and increase the likelihood of a dry socket.
Maintaining good hygiene is especially important after oral surgery, as your surgical site(s) are healing. Resume your normal brushing and flossing routine the night of surgery, but avoid brushing directly over the surgical site(s).
Avoid playing with the surgical site(s) or sutures with your tongue.
No vigorous rinsing or forceful spitting should be performed for 5 days after the procedure.
On the day after surgery, you should being salt-water rinse to keep the surgical site(s) clean and promote resolution of swelling.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water
- Do the rinses 5 times a day for 7 days after surgery
- Be sure to rinse gently to avoid dislodging the blood clot(s)
If prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse, use as directed. Avoid alcohol-containing mouthwash 7 days after surgery, as it will delay healing.
If given a syringe for irrigation, begin irrigating the surgical site(s) 5 days after your procedure. Failure to wait 5 days could increase the likelihood of a dry socket. Irrigating is especially helpful after eating to remove debris and food from the socket(s).
It is important to understand that you will have some discomfort after surgery, which you can minimize by following the postoperative instructions. The key to managing pain is to stay ahead of the discomfort.
For adolescent and adult patients, we recommend taking 400-600mg Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or 500-1,000mg Acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6-8 hours. Do not exceed 3,000mg of Tylenol in a 24 hour period. You may alternate both of these medications so that you are taking something for pain every 3 hours.
You may have been prescribed a narcotic-containing pain medication (such as Norco) to manage severe pain, which is a combination medication that contains a narcotic and Acetaminophen (Tylenol). You may alternate this medication with Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
- Do not exceed the prescribed dose
- Do not take any additional Acetaminophen (Tylenol) while taking the combination pain medicine
- Do not work, drive, etc. while taking the narcotic pain medication
- To avoid nausea, it is recommended that you do not take this medication on an empty stomach
You may choose not to take the narcotic pain medication, in which case you may follow the above instructions for alternating Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
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