The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
Often there is some swelling associated with the surgery. You can reduce this by holding a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel firmly to the face or cheek over the surgical site. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 36 hours. After 36 hours, it is best to switch from ice to moist heat, placing it to the same areas. The greatest swelling occurs 2-3 days after surgery. After that time it should gradually decrease. Keep head elevated on at least 2 pillows at all times for the first 3 days after surgery.
Unfortunately, some oral surgery procedures cause discomfort. The doctor may prescribe pain medication. Always have food on stomach before taking any pain medication. Pain medication must be taken within 2 hours after discharge. This will manage the discomfort better. The effects of pain medicines very widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief, you may add Ibuprofen (Motrin). Some people may even require more pain pills during early stages (but that may add to the risk of upset stomach). Remember that the most severe discomfort usually occurs within the first six hours after the numbness wears off. Afterward your need for pain medication should lessen.
After general anesthetic or I.V. sedation, liquids should be initially taken. Do not use straws. Drink from a glass. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away form the surgical sites. High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Refer to the section on suggested diet instructions at the end of the brochure. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort and heal faster if you continue to eat. Caution: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy. If you are lying down following surgery, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day especially after eating with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Not all procedures require antibiotics. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.
In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour including the prescribed medicine. You should then sip on coke, tea or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
Sutures are placed the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture form your mouth and discard it. The sutures will be removed approximately one week after surgery. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure. So it’s really nothing to worry about. The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur call my office for instructions. There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually over the next month fill in with the new tissue. In the mean time, the area should be kept clean especially after meals with salt water rinses or a toothbrush. Your case is individual, no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well intended advice from friends. Discuss your problem with the person best able to effectively help you: Dr. Hompesch or your family dentist. Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites. A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur 2-3 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs. If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get light headed, stop exercising.