Please read these instructions carefully
Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are minimal, so not all of these instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office at 315-457-9999 anytime for clarification.
Day of Surgery
Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not being controlled. If active bleeding persists after one hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30-60 minutes. The gauze may be changed as necessary and may be dampened and/or fluffed for more comfortable positioning.
Do not disturb the surgical area today. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects (including your fingers). You may brush your teeth gently. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since it is very detrimental to healing.
Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. It may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the surgical areas and biting down firmly for 30-60 minutes.
Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, it usually means the packs are being clenched between your teeth rather than exerting pressure in the surgical areas. Try repositioning fresh packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in moist gauze) for 20-30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office at 315-457-9999.
Often there is swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize this by using a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 12 to 24 hours after surgery. If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed. After 24 hours, it is usually best to switch from ice to moist heat to the same areas.
Most oral surgery is accompanied with some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication, and if you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you will be able to manage any discomfort you have better. Effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic such as aspirin or acetaminophen. Some people may even require two of the pain pills at one time during early stages (but that may add to the risk of upset stomach). Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic wears off, after that your need for medication should lessen.
Nausea is not an uncommon event after surgery, and it is sometimes caused by stronger medicines. Nausea may be reduced by preceding each pill with a small amount of soft food, then taking the pill with a large volume of water. Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize the pain medication. Call if you do not feel better or if repeated vomiting is a problem. Cola drinks that have less carbonation may help with nausea.
Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Temperature of the food does not matter, but avoid extremely hot foods. It is sometimes advisable, but not required, to confine the first day's intake to bland liquids and pureed foods (yogurt, milk shakes, creamed soups, etc.). Avoid foods like nuts, popcorn, sunflower seeds, etc., that may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days, you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. It is very important not to skip meals! If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and heal faster. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible and follow instructions given by your physician regarding your insulin schedule.
If you feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with your tongue, it is probably the bony walls, which originally supported the tooth/teeth. Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery. They are not pieces of tooth and, if necessary, we will remove them. Please call the office if you are concerned.
Instructions for the Second and Third Day
Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Use one-quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily for the next five days. If Dr. Thurber has prescribed a specific mouth rinse for you, please follow those instructions for use.
Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.
Apply warm compresses to the skin overlying areas of swelling (hot water bottle, moist hot towels, and heating pad) for 20 minutes on 20 minutes off to help sooth those tender areas. This will help with decrease swelling and stiffness.
If you were given an irrigating syringe, start using the third day after surgery to keep sockets clean. Fill it with warm water and irrigate any open sockets gently, especially after eating.
Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first day of surgery is usually the most uncomfortable and there is some degree of swelling and stiffness. The second day you will usually be far more comfortable and, although still swollen, you can usually begin a more substantial diet. From the third day on GRADUAL, STEADY IMPROVEMENT should mark the remainder of your postoperative course. If a DRY SOCKET occurs (loss of blood clot from the socket, usually on the 3rd to 5th day), there is a noticeable, distinct, persistent throbbing pain in the jaw that often radiates toward the ear and forward along the jaw causing other teeth to ache. If you do not see steady improvement during the first few days after surgery, do not suffer needlessly. Call the office at 315-457-9999 and report symptoms so you can be seen as soon as possible.
It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office at 315-457-9999. If you need to reach Dr. Thurber after office hours, please call 954-483-1918. When calling after hours, please leave your name, the date you were in the office and a phone number so he may return your call.
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