The information in this video has been compiled to help our patients understand the healing process and how to avoid problems. By following these instructions closely, you will ensure that your recovery is as comfortable as possible.
Following oral surgery, it will be important to follow these care instructions exactly as we present them. They are intended to guide you to a comfortable recovery and assist your healing.
A certain amount of discomfort should be expected and varies with the amount of surgery that was performed. Your doctor will instruct you on what medications to take the day of your surgery. If your pain is not controlled by the ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) alone, take your prescribed medication in addition to keep you comfortable. It is best taken with fluid or food in your stomach; this will help prevent nausea. If a rash develops, stop taking the medication and call our office.
When you leave the office, you will be biting on gauze pads that have been placed over the surgical area. Maintain firm biting pressure on the gauze for 30–40 minutes after leaving. You may replace the gauze if active bleeding occurs upon its removal. Most of your bleeding will slow within 3–4 hours, but a small amount of oozing is common for up to 24 hours after surgery.
SWELLING AND BRUISING
These are part of normal healing. Swelling typically peaks by the third day and then starts to resolve gradually; it can be reduced by the use of an ice pack. Apply the ice pack on your face over the area of surgery in 15-minute intervals for 24 hours after surgery. After 24 hours, it is usually best to switch from ice to moist heat to the same areas. The earlier this is started, the less swelling you will experience. Also, keep your head elevated (on several pillows) for 24–48 hours after surgery. Some bruising on your face is normal and may gravitate to areas below the site of your surgery.
Good nutrition and adequate fluid intake are important after surgery. Immediately following surgery, a liquid or soft diet is suggested (for example, soup, milkshake, eggs, mashed potatoes, etc.). Avoid any HOT foods or liquids during the first 24 hours. You may gradually return to a normal diet as tolerated 3–5 days after surgery unless otherwise directed. To help prevent dry socket, do not use a straw for the first 5 days after surgery.
Good oral hygiene is very important to ensure uneventful healing. You may begin brushing your teeth using a soft toothbrush the day after surgery. It is important to brush all of your teeth, even if the teeth and gums are sensitive. Bacterial plaque and food accumulation near the extraction site will delay healing.
Do NOT rinse your mouth or spit on the day of surgery. Begin rinsing the day after surgery; rinse with warm salt water 3–4 times a day for 7 days (1 teaspoonful of salt to a glass of warm water). Do NOT use mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide, as this will delay healing. Begin use of the syringe provided (on lower extraction sites only) 5 days after surgery.
Do not smoke for at least 1 week after surgery (smoking will cause significant pain) or drink alcohol for at least 48 hours after surgery (or while taking pain medication); smoking and alcohol both delay healing and may lead to complications such as dry socket.
If stitches (sutures) have been placed in your mouth, they will dissolve and fall out on their own in 7–10 days. If they fall out sooner, do not be alarmed, as this is normal.
This is usually due to not eating or taking too much pain medication on an empty stomach. It may also be caused by not keeping firm pressure on the gauze and swallowing some blood after surgery. Drinking small amounts of clear carbonated beverages every hour for 5–6 hours usually helps. Gravol™ may also be taken without a prescription. If nausea continues, please call our office.
Unless told otherwise, avoid vigorous physical activity for 5 days following your surgery. Physical activity increases your blood pressure, which will cause an increase in your swelling, pain, and bleeding.
IT IS OUR DESIRE THAT YOUR RECOVERY BE AS SMOOTH AS POSSIBLE. FOLLOWING THESE INSTRUCTIONS WILL ASSIST YOU, BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE AT (604) 504-7522.
After normal working hours (evenings or weekends), our answering service will page Dr. Esmail or the doctor on call.