After Tooth Removal
We would like to thank you for choosing us to perform your surgical procedure. We have provided some basic post-operative instructions to make your recovery as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office and a member of our surgical team will return your call in a timely fashion.
IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING YOUR SURGERY:
- The first stages of healing are aided by allowing tissues to rest. Avoid vigorous chewing, excessive spitting, or rinsing for the first 24 hours as initial healing may be delayed, active bleeding restarted, or infection introduced.
- AVOID USING A STRAW to ingest liquids as it may cause the blood clot to dislodge and delay healing.
- Try to avoid smoking completely, as it tends to slow the healing process and may also contribute to infection and prolonged discomfort. The irritants in the cigarette smoke will greatly increase your chance of prolonged pain and complications, which can lead to a dry socket. A dry socket occurs when the clot does not form properly or a portion of it becomes dislodged. This typically occurs 3-4 days following the extraction. Symptoms include a throbbing, radiating pain along the jaw. This condition will resolve without treatment, however, the pain can be managed through the use of pain relievers and/or with medicated paste placed in the extraction site. The risk is highest in the first week, therefore, you should not smoke for at least 7 days.
- Do not worry about the sutures if they start to come out. The sutures usually dissolve in 5-7 days and typically do not require removal.
- Some degree of discomfort and pain arises as the numbness subsides. We recommend that you start taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory once you arrive home, such as Advil/Ibuprofen/Motrin. These medications and should be taken as directed on the bottle (usually 600-800 mg every 6-8 hours). In addition, you make take the prescribed narcotic pain medication as directed for break-though pain relief. All pain medications have the ability to cause severe nausea and vomiting, so try to have some food in your stomach before you take them. If you are particularly sensitive to narcotics, only take a half a tablet for your first dose.
- Do not wait for the pain to become unbearable before using some form of pain medication, as then it will be more difficult to control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 24-72 hours, sometimes peaking on the 3rd post-operative day. Relief should begin on the 4th post-operative day.
- Expect minor bleeding or OOZING from the surgical site. This bleeding may continue throughout the first day. Keep firm pressure on the surgical site by biting on a gauze sponge for about 1 hour. Continue replacing it with a fresh piece of gauze every hour until the bleeding has stopped. Biting on a moist tea bag wrapped in gauze may help control persistent oozing from the surgical site as well. Once the oozing has stopped, there is no further need for the gauze.
- There should be no vigorous rinsing or spitting when actively bleeding, as this will make it worse. If active bleeding should recur, carefully apply a fresh gauze sponge to the bleeding site. Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes usually controls the problem. Should active bleeding persist, please call the office and a member of our surgical team will return your call promptly.
- Bruising and skin discolorations are not unusual. The discolorations can be yellow, black, or blue depending on the fairness of your skin. It often takes a week for this to completely dissipate.
- Swelling is a normal healing response which usually develops during the first 12-24 hours following surgery, often peaking on the 3rd post-operative day. It should begin to subside by the 4th day after your surgery. Swelling can be minimized by placing an ice pack on the affected side at 20 minute intervals during the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Any swelling, soreness, or stiffness in the jaw muscles can be relieved by applying a warm moist towel to the affected side of the face several times a day. Moist heat should be used after the first 48 hours.
- Keep your head elevated at all times while resting. Sleeping elevated with pillows or in a recliner helps.
- Limit activity during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Excessive exertion may lead to post-operative bleeding and discomfort. Avoid strenuous work or vigorous exercise for 5-7 days.
- Do not drive an automobile for 24 hours following surgery if you have had general anesthesia or if you are taking prescription pain medication.
- You should be able to brush your teeth the following day. Sometimes using a pediatric toothbrush helps, since it is smaller and softer. Brush normally in areas away from the surgical site, but avoid brushing directly on the wound. Good hygiene will minimize the bacteria in your mouth, decreasing your chance of an infection.
- FLUID INTAKE IS VERY IMPORTANT. You should start with clear liquids and advance to other fluids as tolerated. When the bleeding has been controlled you should attempt to drink some thick liquids (without using a straw), such as milkshakes, smoothies, or pudding. Please avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off and the bleeding has stopped.
- You should consume only non-solid foods for the first 2-3 days. Please avoid popcorn, seeds, nuts, and chips for the first week of surgery. Remember to keep hydrated and drink plenty of liquids. Eventually, you should be able to advance your diet to more solid foods.
- Take any regularly scheduled medication on your regular schedule unless advised to do otherwise.
- If you have been taken off blood thinners (Coumadin, etc) or if your current medications have been altered at all due to your procedure, you must contact your physician to determine if and when you should resume your medications. This is typically addressed at your consultation appointment. These medications are restarted after your surgery unless told otherwise by your physicians.
- If you were prescribed an antibiotic and are currently taking oral contraceptives, you should use an alternate method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle.
IF YOU FEEL THAT HEALING IS NOT PROGRESSING IN A NORMAL FASHION OR YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A TRUE MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CONTACT OUR OFFICE IMMEDIATELY (559) 435-7993 AND A MEMBER OF OUR SURGICAL TEAM WILL HELP YOU.