With proper attention to post-operative care, most surgical procedures involving the oral cavity will heal quickly and without complication.
1. PROTECTION OF THE BLOOD CLOT - Maintain gentle pressure by biting on the gauze sponge that has been placed over the surgical area. Do this for at least 45 minutes to an hour. If bleeding continues, replace sterile sponge with another as provided and maintain pressure for another 30 minutes. Some oozing of blood is normal following oral surgery and it may persist until the next day. Do not replace gauze if there is no active bleeding. AVOID USING A STRAW for one week as this may disrupt the blood clot.
2. DO NOT RINSE - Do not rinse or use mouthwash for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon table salt in 8 oz of warm water) every 2-3 hours during awake hours for the next 5 days. Do not rinse vigorously, as this may initiate bleeding at the site of surgery. (The use of commercial mouthwashes during the healing period is not encouraged).
3. PAIN - Following oral surgery it is normal to experience some discomfort. Appropriate pain medication will be prescribed by the surgeon if he feels it will be necessary. If none has been prescribed, take two Advil as needed for pain.
4. SWELLING - Swelling of the jaw and facial tissues often follows oral surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag as soon as possible to the affected side of the face for 20 minute intervals. This ice bag should be used the first 24-48 hours after the day of surgery. However, swelling may persist and even increase for the next day or two before it begins to subside. At times, difficulty in fully opening the mouth will follow the removal of impacted wisdom teeth. As the swelling resolves, a normal degree of opening will return.
5. THE TOOTHBRUSH - The toothbrush may be carefully used in the area of the mouth not involved by the surgical procedure. A clean mouth heals faster.
6. EATING - Adequate food and fluid intake following surgery and/or general extractions is important. If you find that eating your regular diet is too difficult, you should supplement your diet with nourishing liquids and soft foods. Solid food may be added as soon as they can be chewed comfortably.
7. AVOID - Avoid all strenuous activity/exercise, don’t drink liquids through a straw, and avoid alcoholic beverages for 1 week.
8. SUTURES - If non-resorbable sutures were used, it is important to return on the appointment date so that they can be removed unless they are dissolvable sutures. In this case, you may not have to return if the surgeon has thus specified.
9. COMPLICATIONS - Prolonged or excessive discomfort, swelling, bleeding or fever seldom arise. However, if there is a problem you should contact the surgeon so that futher direct instructions for your care may be given.