Post-Operative Surgery Instructions

These post-operative instructions are meant to answer some of the questions you might have following your oral surgery. If you have any additional questions or problems, please do not hesitate to call the office.
Patients who have been given a general anesthetic may expect some effects of the anesthesia to last up to 24 hours. Procedures requiring alertness such as driving a car or operating machinery should be avoided the day of surgery.
Oral Care
DO NOT RINSE OR SPIT VIGOROUSLY FOR 24 HOURS AFTER SURGERY. You may have been given a prescription mouth rinse that can be used the evening of your surgery. Keep fingers and tongue away from the socket or surgical site.
Immediately following the surgery keep a steady pressure on the bleeding area by biting firmly on the gauze placed by your doctor. Gauze pressure directly over the extraction site helps reduce bleeding and permits formation of a clot in the tooth socket. Gently change the gauze every 30-45 minutes until there is no visible bleeding from the extraction site. The gauze may need to be changed a few times. If bleeding persists, a moist tea bag can be placed over the surgical site. The tannic acid in the tea will help control the bleeding. After the bleeding has stopped, cautiously resume oral hygiene. GAUZE SHOULD NOT BE LEFT IN THE MOUTH OVERNIGHT OR WHILE EATING!
DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY WHILE TAKING PRESCRIBED NARCOTICS. Expect some discomfort following surgery. Immediately following the procedure, begin taking medication as directed by your doctor in order to minimize discomfort when the numbness wears off. For mild discomfort take Tylenol or ibuprofen in place of your prescription. For moderate discomfort use the pain medication given to you by your doctor. PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDICATION SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH AS IT MAY CAUSE NAUSEA.

Due to changes in Federal Regulations, prescriptions for many common narcotic pain medications can no longer be placed or renewed over the telephone. All prescriptions or refills for narcotics must now be in written form and picked up from our office during normal business hours.

Some swelling and discoloration of the face may be expected. Do not be alarmed by this normal reaction of the tissues. Swelling peaks on the second or third post-operative day and then gradually starts to resolve. You may have been given instructions to use an ice pack or to use bags with crushed ice on the affected area for the first 24 hours. If you wrap the ice with a thin, soft cloth (i.e. t-shirt material), you may leave the ice on the affected area continuously. If using unwrapped ice, you may leave the bag on the affected area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. The ice will help prevent development of excessive swelling and discomfort. If you lie down, keep your head elevated higher than your heart. The disposable cold packs should be discarded if leaking of chemical occurs.
Do not chew until the numbness is gone. Eat only soft foods that are cold or room temperature NOTHING HOT! Foods suggested immediately following your visit include milk shakes, ice cream, yogurt, cold applesauce, soft drinks, powdered food supplements, etc. DO NOT USE A STRAW!
Oral Care
Twenty-four hours after the surgery, rinse your mouth gently with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water. Repeat frequently until soreness is no longer present. You may have been given a prescription for an antibacterial rinse (Peridex or Periogard). Use as directed along with the warm salt water rinse. Rinsing is important as it removes food particles and debris from the socket area or surgical site, thus helping to prevent infection and promote healing. You may brush your teeth but brush carefully around the extraction site. Brush your tongue to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth. Remember that the cleaner you keep your mouth, the faster and better you will heal. In addition, DO NOT SMOKE for at least 1-2 days after surgery. Nicotine may break down the blood clot and cause a dry socket.
The swelling may slowly increase until the third day, then it should slowly decrease. DO NOT USE ICE AFTER THE FIRST 24 HOURS!
Have your meals at the usual time. Eat soft, nutritious foods and drink plenty of liquids. Diet should consist of soft foods which can be easily chewed. Do not eat seeds, nuts, popcorn, rice, etc. Gradually resume normal diet as tolerated.

Absorbable or dissolving sutures are generally used. If a nonabsorbable suture has been used, you will be given a return appointment.

Special considerations following removal of impacted or unerupted teeth are as follows:
  • Removal of impacted teeth is a surgical procedure, and extra care must be taken to avoid complications.
  • Severity of post-operative pain will depend on the procedure and your own physical condition. Take medication for pain as directed by your doctor.
  • Trismus (stiffness), difficulty in opening your mouth widely, and discomfort upon swallowing should be anticipated.
  • Your other teeth may temporarily ache. This is referred pain and is a temporary condition.
  • Numbness of the lips, tongue or chin on the affected side may occur for a variable period of time. Notify the office if the numbness persists more than several days.
  • There may be a slight elevation in temperature for 24-48 hours. If elevated temperature continues, please notify our office.
  • It is not unusual to develop bruising in the extraction area.
If you have been given an irrigating syringe, please start using the syringe on the third day following your surgery. Fill the syringe with warm water and gently irrigate the extraction sites. If you have any questions, please call our office, Fort Wayne Office Phone Number 260-423-2340.