What you should do following extractions and other oral surgery procedures:
A certain amount of bleeding, pain, and swelling is normal. Reduce your activity as much as possible for several hours. Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours. Do not drink through a straw or spit. These activities may hinder formation of a blood clot, which is necessary for proper healing. It is important to drink a large volume of cold liquids during the first 24 hours following your procedure.
After surgery, you may experience jaw muscle stiffness and a limited opening of your mouth. This is normal and should improve in 7 to 14 days. Regular doses of an anti-inflammatory medication and warm, moist compresses will help decrease jaw stiffness.
To control bleeding
Some blood may ooze from the area of surgery for the first 24 hours. This is a normal occurrence. Immediately following procedure: keep a steady pressure on the bleeding area by biting firmly on the gauze placed there by your doctor. Pressure helps reduce bleeding and permits formation of a clot in the tooth socket. Gently remove the compress when you get home following the surgery.
After 24 hours, some oozing of blood may persist. If necessary, place gauze directly over the socket and bite firmly for 20 minutes. After bleeding has stopped, cautiously resume oral hygiene.
To relieve pain
Immediately following the procedure: Begin taking medication as directed by your doctor to minimize discomfort. When the anesthesia wears off, the feeling in your lip, tongue, and chin will go back to normal. Application of an ice bag can also help relieve discomfort. Extra strength Tylenol or Advil can be taken at first or at the same time as your pain medication.
After 24 hours, continue to take your medication if pain persists. If by the fourth or fifth day the pain has not subsided and cannot be controlled by pain medication, please contact our office and report these symptoms so that you can receive additional instructions and clinical advice.
To minimize swelling
Immediately following procedure: apply an ice bag over the affected area. Use 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for up to 48 hours to help prevent development of excessive swelling and discomfort. If an ice bag is unavailable, simply fill a heavy plastic bag with crushed ice. Tie end securely and cover with a soft cloth to avoid skin irritation. After 48 hours, a warm moist compress is recommended. Swelling is normal and usually reaches its maximum approximately 2-3 days after surgery before it begins to subside.
Special considerations following removal of impacted teeth:
- Removal of impacted teeth is a surgical procedure. Postoperative problems are not unusual, and extra care must be taken to avoid complications.
- Severity of postoperative pain will depend on the procedure and your physical condition. Take medication for pain precisely as directed.
- Healing of the surgical site is variable.
- Swelling can be expected. Be certain to apply ice bags as directed above.
- Difficulty in opening your mouth widely and discomfort upon swallowing should be anticipated.
- Numbness of lips and/or tongue on the affected side may be experienced for a variable period of time.
Oral hygiene is important
24 hours after surgery, rinse mouth gently with a solution of one teaspoonful of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of water. Repeat after every meal or snack for seven days. Rinsing is important because it removes food particles and debris from the socket area and thus helps prevent infection and promote healing. Brush tongue with a dry toothbrush to keep bacteria growth down, but be careful not to touch the extraction site. You may be given an irrigating syringe at one of your post-op appointments to help keep the surgical site clean. Resume your regular toothbrushing, but avoid disturbing the surgical site so as not to loosen or remove the blood clot. Stitches may have been placed in your extraction area. They are either dissolvable or will be removed at one of your post-operative appointments.
Maintain a proper diet
Eat soft, nutritious foods and drink plenty of cold liquids – with meals and in between. Be careful not to disturb the blood clot. Add more solid foods to your diet as instructed by your doctor. You will be given a list of eating suggestions at the time of your appointment.
In case of problems
You should experience no trouble if you follow the instructions and suggestions as outlined. But if you should have any problems such as excessive bleeding, pain, or difficulty opening your mouth, call our office immediately for further instructions or additional treatment. One of our doctors is always on call and can be reached by calling 703-506-1414 and following the instructions.
Remember your follow-up visit
It is often advisable to return for a postoperative visit to make certain healing is progressing satisfactorily. These follow-up visits will be scheduled 7- 10 days after the procedure. In the meantime, maintain a healthful diet, observe rules for proper oral hygiene, and visit your dentist for regular checkups.