Once your surgical procedure has been completed, it is important to follow these post-operative instructions to ensure a fast recovery with minimal pain or discomfort.
For your safety and the safety of others, do not drive a vehicle or operate machinery for 24 hours following either intravenous sedation or a general anesthetic. Following surgery, be careful when standing up from a lying position. Pain medication, lack of fluids and the after effects of the general anesthetic or intravenous sedation may cause dizziness. Before standing up, sit for a minute and then get up.
Following either intravenous sedation or a general anesthetic, it is very important to maintain hydration by drinking fluids. Initially, clear fluids with a sugar base (e.g., Gatorade, iced tea, ginger ale) are recommended to avoid nausea and provide energy. Once you feel up to it, you can advance your diet to thicker liquids or pureed foods (soup, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.). Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Return to your regular diet as tolerated. It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas. Avoid very hot food. Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery.
Take pain medicine as prescribed. Take the first dose when you get home, so it begins to work before the local anesthetic has worn off. Taking pain medicine with food often helps minimize nausea. If you are taking large quantities of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please contact our office.
Swelling is often associated with oral surgery. It can be minimized by using a cold pack applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off on the day of surgery. Swelling generally peaks the second or third day after surgery and the tapers off over the next few days.
Bite firmly on the gauze placed over the surgical area, making sure it remains in place. The packs may be removed after one hour. If bleeding persists, apply firm pressure with new gauze over the surgical site for another 60 minutes. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 45-60 minutes). It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water before it is placed over the surgical site. Bleeding may last for several hours. Bleeding should never be severe. If so, it usually means the gauze is positioned between teeth only and is not exerting pressure on the surgical area. Try repositioning the packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a black tea bag (soaked in cool water, squeezed damp-dry for45-60 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office for further instructions.
Do not rinse your mouth on the day of surgery. Starting on the day after surgery, use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water and gently rinse. Repeat as often as you like, but, at least, four times daily.
Brushing your mouth
Begin your regular oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit normal brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.
Do not smoke for at least 48 hours following surgery. Smoking is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.
Nausea may occur after intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. If you develop nausea, limit your oral intake until it settles. An anti-nauseant drug, such as Gravol, may help. When the nausea is gone, resume oral intake with clear fluids and slowly advance your diet. Once clear liquids are tolerated you may transition to soft food, then a regular diet. If you experience nausea with pain medicine, please discontinue that medicine and call us for an alternative.
Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the third day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the postoperative course should be gradual, steady improvement. If you don’t see continued improvement, please call our office.
If you have been given a prescription for antibiotics, take the medication as directed. This medication is given to help prevent infection. Discontinue the antibiotic if you develop a rash or another type of unfavorable reaction. If this occurs, please call our office.
Stitches are often placed too close the surgical site. They help minimize bleeding and help healing. These sutures will dissolve and fall out on their own.
Contact Us for More Information About Post-Operation Care
Please call our office anytime at (604) 532-9686. If calling after hours, our answering service will connect you to the doctor on call.
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