WISDOM TOOTH POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
The removal of impacted teeth is a surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
You will leave our office with gauze in your mouth. Keep firm pressure on it for 30-40 minutes. You will be given additional gauze, please use it in the same manner until the bleeding stops (typically 1-2 hours post-op). If bleeding persists, you may try repositioning fresh gauze and exert constant pressure on the surgical area or substitute a moist tea bag instead of gauze for 30 minutes. Bleeding should never be severe, but expect some oozing for a couple of days. We recommend keeping your head elevated at least 30 degrees for the first 24 hours.
Do not disturb the surgical area by probing with objects or your fingers. Avoid spitting or rinsing vigorously. Brush your teeth gently. AVOID SMOKING for at least 48 hours, as it is very detrimental to healing. For your safety, we recommend you have someone stay with you for 6-8 hours after general anesthetic. Simply rest the day of surgery and refrain from strenuous exercise for at least 3 days.
Often there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. To minimize swelling, apply a cold pack firmly to your cheek. Apply 20 minutes on/ 20 minutes off during the first 3 days after surgery. On day four, switch to a moist heat compress. Continue the warm pack until swelling resolves and jaw opens comfortably (typically 3-5 days).
Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. An anti-inflammatory (Advil, Motrin or Ibuprofen) should be taken every six hours, starting the day before your surgery. Continue the anti-inflammatory for the next 4-5 days. Begin taking the prescription pain medication (or Extra Strength Tylenol) 3-4 hours after the surgery. Alternate your pain medication with an anti-inflammatory every three hours. (Example: Pain medication at 12:00 & 6:00; Anti-inflammatory at 3:00 & 9:00). Do not take any pain medication on an empty stomach or with alcohol.
Confine your diet to soft foods (eggs, creamed soups, pudding, yogurt, milk, shakes, etc.) that can be taken with comfort. Drink from a cup or a glass, but avoid straws for the first 5 days after surgery. Avoid extremely hot foods until numbness resolves. It is advisable to avoid hard crunchy foods (nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, chips, etc.) until the sockets are closed. Over the next couple days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. It is important not to skip meals and to stay hydrated! If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and heal faster.
Nausea is not an uncommon side effect of IV medications and is sometimes caused by stronger pain medicines. To reduce nausea, eat a small amount of soft food and then take the pill with a large volume of water. Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize the pain medication. Call our office if repeated vomiting is a problem.
INSTRUCTIONS AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF SURGERY
Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Use warm water or 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Gently rinse 4-5 times a day, particularly after meals. Avoid using mouthwash or peroxide rinses until the sockets are closed.
Continue your normal oral hygiene after surgery. Although soreness and swelling may make it difficult to brush all areas, please make every effort to clean your teeth within your bounds of comfort. Using warm water on toothbrush bristles will make brushing more tolerable.
SOME COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SURGERY
HOW LONG WILL I BE SORE?
Pain is different for each person. Commonly the third and fourth days after surgery are the most uncomfortable.
WHAT ABOUT MY STITCHES?
If stitches were used, they are dissolvable. Eating, brushing, etc. does not harm them. They may loosen as early as the day of surgery, but no treatment is necessary if this occurs.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I DEVELOP AN INFECTION?
Symptoms of an infection are increased swelling, fever, chills, and/or drainage from the extraction site. Call our office if these occur.
Our goal is to make your recovery as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you. If you have any questions about your progress please call 719-473-2650.