Post Operative Instructions

Keep the pressure gauze firmly in place for 1-2 hours (remove gauze before eating or drinking and then replace). Then remove and discard it after the 1-2 hour time frame. In order to minimize bleeding, do not drink through a straw or smoke for 24 hours.

If pain medications and/or antibiotics have been prescribed, they should be taken as soon as you get home. The antibiotics (if any) should be continued until finished. Narcotic pain medications are generally necessary only for the first 12-24 hours; then switch to Ibuprofen or Motrin every 3-4 hours as needed. If the narcotics continue to be necessary, there is no harm in continuing them as prescribed.

It is important that you continue to receive nourishment. Unless otherwise instructed, it is usually more comfortable to limit the diet to cold soft foods during the first 12-24 hours. Resume a regular diet as soon as possible. DO NOT MISS MEALS!

On the day after surgery, start rinsing your mouth every few hours with warm salt water. Brush your teeth, if possible. It is important to keep your mouth clean during the period of wound healing.

Unless the Doctor or his assistant advises you otherwise, it is generally recommended that you apply intermittent ice packs to your face over the area of surgery for the first 12-24 hours after surgery.

If sutures were placed in the area of surgery, the sutures are dissolvable and should dissolve within 7-10 days.

Common Problems

Bleeding: For a number of hours following surgery there is often a slight oozing of blood. The mixture of this blood with saliva often makes the bleeding appear to be more than it really is. However, if it continues or seems to be excessive, carry out the following: Cleanse your mouth with a gentle rinse of fresh water; then place a folded gauze pad directly over the wound or surgery site and close your teeth together firmly, (Do not use absorbent cotton or paper tissues.) Do not become excited, but remain quiet and apply pressure with the gauze in place for 45 minutes by the clock. If bleeding persists, repeat the pressure with gauze for an additional 45 minutes.

Nausea and Vomiting: This is usually due to either swallowing of blood or sensitivity to the medications you are taking. Often the consumption of milk or some other bland food will settle the stomach. If nausea continues, narcotic pain medication should be discontinued (unless absolutely necessary for pain control).

Facial Swelling: Some patients have a tendency to have facial swelling following oral surgery. The pressure of ice packs over the swelling areas will often reduce the size of the swelling. This swelling is often greatest 36-72 hours after surgery. It should slowly decrease during the next few days.

Muscle Soreness: Stiffness (Trimus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event which will resolve in time.

Discoloration: In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.

Other Complications

  • If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As stated before surgery, this is usually temporary in nature. You should be aware that if your lip or tongue is numb, you could bite it and not feel the sensation. So be careful. Call 757-596-1200 if you have any questions.
  • Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office. Tylenol or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
  • You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy. You could get light headed when you stand up suddenly. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute then get up.
  • If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as vaseline.
  • Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in 2-3 days.
  • A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur 4-5 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs. 24 hour care is always available at 757-596-1200.