After Tooth Extraction
COMMON POST-OPERATIVE OCCURENCES
While our patients are well-prepared for their procedures, with attention given to medications both before and after to make recovery as easy as possible, it is natural for the body to respond to surgery in different degrees, everyone uniquely different. Factors affecting recovery include your state of health, physical make-up and type, and the extent of treatment needed to solve your problem.
Mostly, we use dissolving sticthes. If we did use removable ones (and taking them out is a simple matter), we would tell you. Don’t play with your stitches with your tongue or otherwise bother them. They will loosen and fall out, usually, within the week. If some fall out in the first day or two and there is no bleeding or other problem, don’t worry. Please, feel free to call us if there are any concerns.
Some common post-operative findings may include but are not limited to:
- Swelling of the surgical area and surrounding tissues which peaks at 24-72 hours.
- Trismus (stiffness) of the jaw muscles causing difficulty in opening your mouth for a period of several days.
- A slight earache.
- A sore throat.
- Temporary aching of your other teeth (referred pain).
- Stretching or cracking of the corners of the mouth. (Your lips should be kept moist with cream or ointment).
- A slight elevation of temperature in the first 24 hours. (If temperature continues, please notify us).
- Bruising in the area of surgery and/or the overlying skin. The latter often shows up a number of days after treatment.
- Do not rinse or spit for 24 hours after surgery.
- Keep your fingers and tongue away from the socket or surgical area.
- Use ice packs on the side of the face for the first 6 to 8 hours only – then discontinue. Apply 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off.
- For mild discomfort, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other over-the-counter medication you normally use for pain. You can use ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil, 400-600mg every four hours as needed) or similar anti-inflammatory drugs if you have no history of ulcers, allergy to aspirin, or use of blood thinners; take these after food.
- For more severe pain, use the prescription given to you. Take narcotics a half-hour after food and discontinue if nausea occurs. Cola drinks or ginger ale and sleep can help this pass.
- Drink plenty of fluids but do not use a straw.
- After the first post-operative day, use a warm saltwater rinse following meals and before bed to flush out debris in the area. Use one half-teaspoon of salt in 10 ounces of warm water, or half mouthwash and water combined.
- Diet, for the first day or two, may consist of liquids and soft foods which can be easily chewed and swallowed.
- A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Bleeding is controlled by applying pressure to the surgical area using small rolled gauze for 45-60 minutes. After that time remove the gauze and then you may eat or drink. If bleeding persists, moist teabag should be placed in the area of bleeding and bite firmly for one hour. This will aid in clotting blood. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding still persists call our office.
- We suggest that you do not smoke for at least 5 days after surgery. Nicotine may break down the blood clot and cause a delay in healing.
- Tooth-brushing can start the day after your surgery. Use a soft-bristled brush on all the non-treated teeth and gums but avoid brushing the area of surgery for at least 10 days.
- Please take all prescriptions as directed.
- Women please note: some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your pharmacist or physician.
- Feel free to contact us if any questions arise as to your progress and recovery.
Oral hygiene is important:
24 hours after surgery, rinse your mouth gently with a solution of one-half teaspoonful of salt dissolved in a 10 oz. glass of water. You may use half mouthwash (Listerine is preferred) and half warm water as an alternative to the saline. Repeat after each meal and at bed time for at least seven days. Rinsing is important because it removes food particles and debris from the socket area and thus helps prevent infection and promote healing. Resume your regular tooth brushing, but avoid disturbing the surgical site so as not to loosen or remove the blood clot.
Maintain a proper diet:
Have your meals at the usual time. Eat soft, nutritious foods and drink plenty of liquids – with meals and in between. Have what you wish, but be careful not to disturb the blood clot. Add solid foods to your diet as soon as they are comfortable to chew.
In case of problems:
Most patients experience no trouble if they follow the instructions and suggestions as outlined. But if you should have any problems such as excessive bleeding, pain, or prolonged difficulty in opening your mouth, call your doctor immediately for further instructions or additional treatment.
Remember your follow-up visit:
It is often advisable to return for a post-operative visit to make certain healing is progressing satisfactorily. A follow-up visit may be scheduled. In the meantime, maintain a healthy diet, observe rules for proper oral hygiene, and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.