Post Operative Instructions For Extractions
Immediately Following Surgery
The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half hour. Please refer to the section on bleeding for more information. Avoid vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged. If you were prescribed pain medications, begin taking them as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic becoming diminished. Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable. Place ice packs to the side of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for an explanation. Do not smoke or vape for 24 hours post surgery.
You may experience some swelling around the surgery area. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is your body’s normal reaction to surgery. Some bruising may also develop on the face.
Swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until two to three days post-operatively. However, the swelling will be minimized by the use of ice packs for the first 48 hours. Ice packs (or bags of frozen peas) should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on for 20 minutes then off for 20 minutes.
Take any pain medication prescribed by our office as needed and as directed. Begin taking pain medication as the local anesthetic is wearing off, usually three (3) to eight (8) hours after surgery. Prescribed pain medicine may make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. For break-through pain (pain that persists after taking prescription pain medication) you can alternate with ibuprofen (i.e. Motrin, Advil). Do not exceed 600mg of ibuprofen in six (6) hours. Do not take acetaminophen (aspirin, Tylenol) if you have been prescribed and are taking prescription pain medication. Nausea with pain medication may occur but can be reduced by eating food 30 minutes before taking your pain medication. If you continue to experience nausea or vomiting, please contact our office.Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call our office.
Antibiotics may have been given to help prevent infection. If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. It is important to completely finish all of the medication; however, discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction and call our office.
You may find that eating yogurt with live and active cultures will decrease your chances of stomach upset and/or yeast infection while taking antibiotics.
If you are taking birth control pills, please note that antibiotics may make your birth control pills less effective.
Do not use straws when drinking from a glass for 24 hours post surgery. The sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot and increase your risk for dry socket.
Avoid hot foods until all bleeding stops. Cold foods often can soothe an uncomfortable area. Milk shakes, yogurt, pudding, Jell-O, and applesauce usually work well. You may advance to normal food as you feel able, but avoid crunchy foods like popcorn and potato chips until gum tissue has healed.
Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical site(s). High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you continue to eat.
Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged. This is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures will dissolve on their own so there is no need for removal. If you have had non resorbable sutures placed we will make you an appointment to have them removed
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery.
Our office may have provided you with an irrigating syringe to flush food and debris out of deep extraction sites. You may begin using the syringe on the fourth day following oral surgery. Fill syringe with lukewarm water and gently flush the extraction sites.
There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue over the next month. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean especially after meals.
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 2-3 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.
Reduce physical activity for 2-3 days. Avoid lifting, bending, running, etc to help minimize swelling. Rest and sleep with your head elevated. After 2-3 days, you may resume normal activity as you feel able.
If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get light headed, stop exercising.