If you are undergoing an oral surgical procedure involving the removal of wisdom teeth, it is important to review and follow these simple post-operative instructions.
The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
Take the prescribed pain medications only as directed. For maximum benefit, please read the labels on the prescriptions carefully and follow those directions.
Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed.
Oozing or redness in the saliva is not uncommon, and a certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a 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 or sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon and is expected in an amount equal to the surgical procedure performed. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling will become apparent the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2—3 days after surgery. 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. You should use ice packs for the first 36 hours when it is the most beneficial. After the first 36 hours, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in continuing to reduce the size of the swelling. Swelling or stiffness that persists for several days after surgery is a normal reaction to surgery.
Our staff will make every effort to minimize your discomfort following surgery. The local anaesthesia given before surgery will likely wear off within hours after the surgery. If recommended or prescribed, you should be taking anti-inflammatory medication as soon as you begin consuming fluids or food.
If you experience severe pain, a narcotic pain medication will be prescribed and should be taken as directed. This type of pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive a car or work around machinery, and avoid all alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more each day. If pain persists or increases, it may require attention and you should call the rooms.
CAUTION: Dizziness may occur if you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position. If you are lying down, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.
Drink plenty of liquids after general anaesthesia or IV sedation to prevent dehydration. 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. Do not use straws when drinking. The sucking action can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical site(s). Try to maintain a normal diet; however, high-calorie, high-protein intake is very important. Try not to miss a meal. You have more strength, less discomfort, heal faster, and generally feel better if you continue to eat.
Keep the Mouth Clean
You may brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day following surgery you should begin rinsing 5—6 times a day with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt, especially after eating.
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 normal and may occur 2—3 days following surgery. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
If you have been given a prescription for antibiotics, take it as directed. Antibiotics are given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or an unfavourable reaction and call the rooms immediately. You may also call the office if you have any questions regarding your medication.
Nausea & Vomiting
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 then sip on water or sports drinks. You should sip slowly over a 15-minute period. When the nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
There is no cause for alarm if numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs. This is usually temporary. 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 our office if you have any questions.
A slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office.
You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You were not able to eat or drink before surgery and taking pain medications can also make you dizzy. You could get light headed when you suddenly stand up. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute and then get up.
Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are the bony walls, which supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by Dr McGrath.
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, and as a result, the normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in 2—3 days.
Stiffness of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.
Sutures are placed in the area where the teeth were removed to minimize bleeding postoperatively and to help with the healing process. Sometimes they fall out. This is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures may be removed, if required, at your post-operative visit; however, removal of sutures requires no anaesthesia or needles. It takes only a few minutes, 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, by rinsing with salt water or brushing with a toothbrush, being sure to brush gently around the surgical site.