Post-Operative Care

After oral surgery, it is important that you follow the post-operative instructions to prevent unnecessary pain, elongated recovery, and painful complications.

Bleeding

Bleeding or oozing may continue for a short time or may persist until the next day. Maintain gentle pressure by biting on the gauze.
To prevent dry socket (loss of blood clot):

  • Do NOT rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours following surgery.
  • Do NOT smoke at all during the healing period (at least one week).
  • Do NOT drink carbonated beverages for one week.
  • Do NOT drink beverages through a straw for one week.
  • Do NOT swish vigorously or suck on wound for one week.

If profuse bleeding or other problems occur, please call your local office immediately.

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Swelling and Bruising

Swelling, bruising, discomfort, and slight jaw and muscle stiffness are normal reactions to surgery. Bruising and muscle soreness will resolve on their own and may take up to a week or more. Swelling usually peaks 48-72 hours after surgery, and should begin to go away about the third day following surgery. For the first 24 hours following surgery, apply ice packs to the site; 20 minutes on/20 minutes off. Do not ice after the second day. Beginning the third day after surgery, you may apply moist heat 4-6 times per day to help with remaining swelling. If swelling decreases for 2-3 days and then returns with pain or remains longer than 6 days, please call the office for evaluation of possible infection.

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Mouth Pain

Pain will vary from patient to patient and will peak within the first 24-78 hours after surgery. For minor pain, ibuprofen taken as directed is best. Because aspirin interferes with blood clotting, do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin. Take prescribed pain medication as directed. Pain that goes away after 2 or 3 days and returns is a signal for you to please call the office so we can treat the area for possible infection.

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Infection

To prevent infection, keep your mouth clean. Beginning 24 hours post-op, brush your teeth on your normal schedule, using a gentle brushing technique in the surgical area, and rinse with warm salt water 4-5 times daily to keep extraction sight clean and free of food. Rinse your mouth after eating to prevent food debris from settling into the wound. Do not swish vigorously. If you are running a fever three days after the surgery this may indicate an infection, and you should call the office. Patients at an increased risk of infection may be placed on a preventive antibiotic medication.

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Medication

Take prescribed medication as directed; most medications should be taken with food unless specifically directed otherwise. If any prescribed medication is making you sick, please call the office.

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Nausea

Post-operative nausea is usually due to swallowing a small amount of blood during or after the procedure. You may drink 1/2 cup of carbonated drink such as 7-Up or ginger ale every hour up to 6 hours to help relieve this feeling. Sometimes pain medication can cause nausea. If nausea persists, please call the office.

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Questions

If you have any questions about your post-operative care, please call your local office.