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Post Operative Care

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS FOR CARE FOLLOWING ORAL SURGERY

You have had a surgical operation in your mouth that must be cared for just as an operation on any other part of the body. Infection, swelling, and pain must be held to a minimum or prevented, if possible. Please follow instructions carefully, and if post-operative problems of an emergency nature occur, always consult with the person most familiar with your problem and therefore best able to render treatment - your ORAL SURGEON.

BLEEDING

  1. Leave the gauze pad over the area operated for 30 minutes, holding it in place with moderate biting pressure, after which it should be GENTLY removed. Change the gauze every 30 minutes until the bleeding is controlled; not necessarily stopped, but controlled. The sites may ooze slightly up until bedtime, or even for the next several days.
  2. Slight bleeding is beneficial. If bleeding is excessive and should persist, do not become alarmed. Remove any clots with a piece of gauze and rinse the mouth with ice water. Form a piece of gauze to a thickness that can be placed directly over the bleeding area and will not allow the teeth to come together when you bite down. Hold in place firmly for 30 minutes and repeat until bleeding is controlled. Rest for 3-4 hours following surgery.
  3. DO NOT SMOKE for a period of 24 hours following surgery.  NO SPITTING or SUCKING on a straw the day of surgery.
  4. DO NOT RINSE THE MOUTH ON THE DAY OF SURGERY. If bleeding is excessive, follow special instructions under No. 2.

PAIN

If you were given a prescription for pain, have it filled immediately and follow the instructions accompanying the drug as to its use. DO NOT TAKE MEDICATION ON AN EMPTY STOMACH or you may become nauseated. Try and take the pain medication as soon as possible after surgery, even if the area is still numb. Don't wait for the anesthetic to wear off. AGAIN, ALWAYS TAKE FOOD WITH YOUR PAIN MEDICATION.

NAUSEA

If you are nauseated due to post-operative medications, please discontinue medications for 12 hours and take Tylenol for pain if needed. When symptoms of nausea subside you may resume postoperative medications as indicated. If nausea continues beyond 24 hours please contact our office for further instructions.

SWELLING

When extensive surgery has been done about the face, swelling or discoloration is not unusual. MAXIMUM SWELLING OCCURS 48 HOURS AFTER THE SURGERY. ON THE DAY OF SURGERY, keep the face cold with ice packs - 30 minutes out of every hour. Smooth Vaseline on the face and lips to avoid dryness and burning of the tissues. Ice should be kept on until bedtime the day of surgery and all day the following day, if at all possible. Keep head elevated on 2 or 3 pillows the first 48 hrs following surgery.

ORAL HYGIENE

The operative areas must always be kept clean. The day following surgery, use warm salt water (1/2 tsp. salt in a glass of warm water) as a gentle mouth rinse after every meal and at bedtime. This may also be used in between meals. Start brushing the teeth after every meal the day following surgery. Remember to include the teeth around the extraction site, since this will help prevent infection. Remember again, do not rinse or brush the day of surgery.

DIET

An adequate diet MUST be followed to insure a speedy recovery. Immediately following surgery, cold liquid or soft foods are recommended. Soft foods should be continued for several days. We realize that the consumption of foods will be difficult, but an adequate diet is essential for proper healing. Ensure and Sustacal are helpful when used as liquid snacks. Some soft foods we suggest are: Carnation Instant Breakfast, yogurt, ice cream, soups, puddings, jello, pastas, mashed potatoes and milkshakes.

SUTURES

Do not worry about any swelling or discoloration of the face that occurs following the operation. This is usually normal and does not indicate infection. If stitches were placed in your mouth, it was to prevent bleeding and to hasten healing. These will be removed easily and painlessly on the appointed day, usually seven to ten days after surgery. If stitches are light in color, they will dissolve and you do not have to return to have them removed. You will be made aware of this at the time of your surgical procedure. Do not be alarmed if the sutures become loose or bothersome.

INFECTION

If you were given a prescription for infection, the directions must be followed. Please take the medication to its completion unless otherwise advised. Please be aware of possible interference with the birth control pill during antibiotic usage. Contraceptives may be rendered less effective when taken concurrently with antibiotics. We recommend an additional method of contraception for the rest of that cycle's package of pills. Infection can be a serious problem if not taken care of properly. Some bleeding, swelling and pain are expected during the first several days; however, if you are running a temperature or are excessively concerned about the condition of your mouth, please feel free to contact me. If a denture has been inserted, DO NOT remove it for ANY REASON until you have been seen by me or your dentist the day following surgery.

EMERGENCIES

If an emergency should arise, you may contact our office Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. If you should need to contact our staff and/or doctors outside of normal office hours, you may call 239-3654, which will connect you to our answering service. In extreme circumstances, go to the emergency room.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT PATIENTS TAKE CARE NOT TO BITE THEIR LIP OR CHEEK FOR ABOUT 12 HOURS FOLLOWING SURGERY SINCE THE MOUTH MAY HAVE NO SENSATION DURING THAT TIME. DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANESTHETICS ARE USED FOR DIFFERENT PROCEDURES. THE NUMBNESS MAY LAST ANYWHERE FROM A FEW HOURS TO 12 HOURS. DO NOT BECOME ALARMED IF NUMBNESS IS STILL FELT 12 HOURS AFTER SURGERY. THIS IS GENERALLY DUE TO HAVING USED A LONG LASTING ANESTHETIC.

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