For Dental Patients Who Have Undergone Oral Or Periodontal Surgery (Print PDF)
Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification.
Day Of Surgery
First Hour: Bite down gently, but firmly, on the gauze that has been placed over the surgical areas, making sure it remains in place. When you get home, discard the gauze and replace every 20 minutes until the bleeding stops. If the gauze continues to be saturated with blood, use 1-2 pieces of gauze moistened with water and bite down for 20-30 minutes changing the gauze every 20-30 minutes until the bleeding stops.
Oozing vs. Persistent Bleeding: Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal. A little bit of blood looks like a lot of blood when mixed with saliva. Bleeding should never be severe. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you can substitute the gauze for a moistened Black Tea Bag wrapped with moistened gauze. Again, bite down for 20-30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.
Exercise Care: For the first 48 hours, DO NOT spit or drink through a straw. Anything that creates suction in the mouth could disturb the surgical areas and cause Dry Sockets. Smoking is detrimental to healing (try not to smoke for 4-7 days postoperatively).
Swelling: Swelling is often associated with oral surgery. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag, or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical areas. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, during the first 48 hours after surgery. The first night, you should sleep with your head in a slightly elevated position (add an additional pillow).
Pain: Take prescribed medication for the first 2 days after surgery. For mild pain- Motrin 200 mg, 4 pills every 8 hours or Aleve, 2 pills every 8-12 hours. For moderate to severe pain take the prescribed narcotics. These can make you groggy and slow down your reflexes. DO NOT DRIVE an automobile or work around machinery under the influence of narcotic medication. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery is normal and should subside gradually each day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call our office.
Nausea: Nausea is not uncommon after surgery. Most often pain medications are the cause. Nausea can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food and taking the pill with a large volume of water. Try to keep drinking plenty of clear fluids and minimize the dosage of the pain medications, but call the office if you do not feel better.
Diet: The first day, try to have more of a liquid or pureed diet (soups, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.) Nothing hot and AVOID spicy foods, nuts, seeds, popcorn, crusty slices of bread, etc. which may get lodged in the socket areas.
Instructions For Days To Follow
Brushing: After the first day, you may brush your teeth, as usual, avoiding the surgical sites as much as possible. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.
Mouth Rinses: Do Not Rinse For The First 24 Hours After Oral Surgery. If you are given a prescription mouth rinse, begin the following morning after breakfast. DO NOT rinse vigorously, allow the rinse to just roll around the mouth. DO NOT eat or drink anything for 30 minutes following rinse. Repeat after dinner. Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. If you were not given a prescription rinse, starting the third day after surgery, you may gently rinse with warm salt water.1/4 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8oz glass of warm water. Again, allow salt water to just roll around in the mouth, 2 times a day after meals.
Warm Compress: After the first 48 hours of applying ice, you may begin to use a moist, warm compress. You will apply the compress to the areas for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. This will help decrease swelling and stiffness.
Healing: The first 3 days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is some swelling and maybe even some bruising. The remainder of the postoperative course should be a gradual, steady improvement. It is our desire that your recovery is as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call our office. Tell the SEDA Dental assistant that you need immediate assistance with postoperative dental questions.