The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by placing a damp gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until two to three days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two plastic bags filled with ice, or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake. After 24 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery.
For moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every six hours or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) two to four 200 mg tablets may be taken every six hours.
For severe pain, take the prescribed pain medication as directed. The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office. As with any medication, if an allergic reaction develops, discontinue the medication and call the office. For severe reactions causing breathing difficulties, call 911.
Drink liquids after IV sedation. Do not use straws when drinking from a glass. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical site(s). High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Try to maintain a normal diet. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least five to six glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you continue to eat.
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least five to six times a day with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Continue rinsing, especially after meals, for approximately one week or as long as needed.
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 postoperative occurrence, which may occur two to three days post-operatively.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics may be given, if necessary, to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.
Nausea and/or vomiting following surgery can be caused from the prescription pain reliever. In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour including the prescribed medicine. You should sip liquids slowly over a 15-minute period. When the nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods as tolerated. You make take over-the-counter pain reliever (Tylenol or Ibuprofen) instead of the prescription pain medicine.
Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Often dissolvable sutures are used and may fall out in the first few days after surgery. Any remaining sutures will be removed approximately one week after surgery. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure.
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur, call the office for instructions.
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 with salt-water rinses or a toothbrush.
Your case is individual. No two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Discuss your concerns with the person best able to effectively help you: your oral surgeon.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
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 three to four days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.
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.
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Drs. Christopher McFarlane, Michael McFarlane and Mark Ridenour practice oral surgery at Winnebago Oral Surgery, S. C.
Address: 1875 West Pointe Drive • Oshkosh, WI 54902 • Phone: 920.231.4600 • Fax: 920.231.4559
Address: 155 N. Rolling Meadows Drive • Fond du Lac, WI 54937 • Phone: 920.921.5001 • Fax: 920.921.0338
Address: 996 South Green Bay Road • Neenah, WI 54956 • Phone: 920.722.3668 • Fax: 920.722.1439