Post-Operative Instructions

Important Information for After Oral Surgery

Frequently, the after affects of oral surgery are minimal so that not all of these instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do; however when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office at any time for clarification.

In case of extreme pain, uncontrollable bleeding, or any unusual disturbances, patients who have seen Dr. Cutright, please telephone the office immediately at 740.687.0551 (during office hours) 866.327.6056 (after office hours).

Our interest in your care does not cease with the completion of the operation. If difficulty arises at any time, please call or return for treatment.

The first hour after surgery bite down firmly but gently on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure that they remain in place undisturbed. Do not change them the first hour unless the bleeding is not being controlled.

You should limit your activities as much as possible on the day of surgery to reduce bleeding and permit formation of a clot in the wound, which is necessary for healing. Surgical wounds of the mouth usually heal quickly and without complications if you take the simple precautions prescribed below.

Pain may persist for about a week following even the most simple oral surgery. You may also experience discomfort in the ears, the throat, the side of the head and under the lower jaw.

Swelling

Some swelling should be expected and should not be cause for concern. The greatest swelling usually occurs during the first 36 hours. A cold pack applied, 20 minute on-20 minutes off, during the first several hours may decrease the swelling.

Discomfort

The pain medicine prescriptions should be filled if needed and taken as directed.

Do not take any other pain medicine or sedatives with these drugs unless the doctor has specifically directed you to do so.

It is also dangerous to consume alcohol while taking these pain medications. Since many of these drugs cause drowsiness. DO NOT take them if you are driving, operating machinery or doing anything that requires alertness.

Pain increasing in severity on the third to fifth day after tooth extraction may indicate a problem with healing. You should call the office for an appointment.

Smoking

No smoking is permitted for at least three days, as it will delay healing and may cause excessive pain or infection.

Sutures

Sutures (stitches) may have been used. Most stitches will dissolve in 7-10 days. You will be told if it is necessary to return for suture removal.

Bleeding

Some mild bleeding may continue for about 24 hours. If there is more than just mild oozing the following will help to control it:

  1. Place a slightly moistened, clean gauze pad directly over the surgical area.
  2. Close the mouth tightly over the gauze pad to apply direct, firm pressure.
  3. Maintain the pressure for 30 minutes before checking or replacing the gauze.
  4. Avoid spitting or rinsing that will cause the bleeding to start again.

Antibiotics

When antibiotics are prescribed for you, they must be taken as directed. If you experience a rash, hives or itching, you may be having an allergic reaction. Stop taking the medicine and call the office for instructions.

Birth Control Pills: Please take extra precautions, as the taking of antibiotics can cause your birth control pills not to work!

Infection

As with any surgical procedure, the risk of developing an infection is possible. This is usually due to the trapping of food in the surgical area. By following the post-operative instructions, very few patients develop this problem. The most common time for an infection to develop is one to three weeks after the surgery. Treatment may require only an antibiotic. Some infections will require cleansing of the site by the doctor.

Diet

Do not let yourself get dehydrated. Drink several glasses of water each day. Start with clear fluids and slowly advance to regular foods. Foods that are soft and cold or warm are best for the first several days. To prevent burning or excessive bleeding, avoid anything hot until the numbing medicine has worn off. Avoid sticky or crunchy foods for several days. Do not drink through a straw for at least a week after your surgery, this may dislodge the clot.

Oral Hygiene

It is important to start oral care on the day following surgery. Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt to one glass warm water) at least six times a day. Gently brush your teeth normally at least twice a day. Do not use any type of mouthwash until healed unless prescribed.

Impacted Teeth

If you have had impacted teeth removed, your postoperative care will be the same as that of other surgical patients. The following conditions may occur, none of which are unusual:

  1. The operated side will swell considerably.
  2. Tightness of the jaw muscles may occur causing difficulty in opening.
  3. You may have an earache or sore throat.
  4. You may feel numbness or tingling of the lip, chin or tongue. This is rarely permanent, but it may persist for several weeks or months.
  5. Adjacent teeth may ache temporarily.
  6. There may be an opening where the tooth was removed. This will gradually heal.
  7. There may be a slight fever for 24 to 48 hours. If fever persists, please call the office.

Unusual Conditions

If any of the following conditions should occur please call the office for further instructions.

  • Fever greater than 101 degrees orally.
  • Severe, hard swelling after the fourth postoperative day.
  • Severe, bright red bleeding that you cannot control by following the directions given.
  • Rash, difficulty in breathing, severe vomiting, or any other suspected reaction to your medication.

Discomfort

Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You should have the most discomfort after the anesthetics wear off. You should take the first dose of pain medicine before you start to feel the beginning of discomfort. This will help you manage the discomfort better. Try not to take the pain medicine on an empty stomach. Bland foods like yogurt, cool soups, etc., will help settle your stomach.

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