Caring for Your Mouth After Surgery
- Do not rinse your mouth for 12 hours after your surgery. After this period, use a warm saltwater rinse (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 oz of warm water) 5 to 6 times daily, between and following meals. Rinsing flushes out particles of food and debris which may lodge in the surgical area, helping to prevent infection and promote healing. Continue this regimen until the sockets have healed.
- Keep your fingers and tongue away from the socket or surgical area.
- To help reduce swelling and discomfort on the first day, apply an ice pack wrapped in a moist towel to your face over the surgical area, 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Do not use a straw as the suction may dislodge the blood clot and promote bleeding.
- Brush your tongue with a dry toothbrush to keep bacteria growth down, but be careful not to touch the surgical area.
- Resume your regular tooth brushing and flossing as soon as possible after surgery, but avoid disturbing the surgical area so as not to loosen or remove the blood clot.
- Eat soft foods - foods that can easily be chewed and swallowed. Avoid seeds, nuts, rice, popcorn, etc. Ice cream or yogurt may be the most comfortable for the first day. Add solid foods to your diet as soon as they are comfortable to chew. Remember that well-balanced, nutritious meals are important to your recovery, so be sure to balance healthy with comfortable.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours following your surgery. Nicotine may break down the blood clot and promote bleeding.
To control bleeding:
- Immediately following the procedure, keep a steady pressure on the bleeding area by biting firmly on the gauze pack that has been placed by the doctor. Pressure helps reduce bleeding and permits the formation of a clot in the socket. Gently remove the gauze pack after the local anesthesia has worn off and normal feeling has returned.
- Some oozing of blood from the area of surgery may persist after 24 hours. This is normal. Applying pressure to the surgical area using a small damp rolled gauze or a moistened tea bag controls the bleeding. Bite firmly on the gauze for 45-60 minutes. Change the gauze as necessary until the bleeding stops. Repeat, if necessary. If the bleeding persists, call the office.
- Don't spit.
- Don't smoke.
- Don't suck thick fluids through a straw as this may dislodge the blood clot and promote bleeding.
To ease discomfort:
- Some discomfort is normal after surgery, and may persist for 3-4 days before subsiding. It can be controlled but not eliminated by taking the pain medication Dr. Allen has prescribed.
- An ice pack applied to the area of the face over the surgical area can also help to relieve discomfort.
To reduce swelling:
- Swelling after surgery is a normal body reaction. It reaches its maximum about 48 hours after surgery and usually lasts 4 to 6 days. Applying an ice pack in a moist towel to the face over the area of surgery helps control swelling and ease discomfort. Use 10 minutes on followed by 5 minutes off.
- Avoid strenuous activity. Go to bed early at night and get plenty of rest during the day.
- You may experience some mild bruising in the area of your surgery. This is a normal response in some persons and should not be a cause for alarm. It will fade over the course of 7 to 14 days.
- After your surgery, you may experience jaw muscle stiffness and limited opening of your mouth. This is normal and will improve in 5 to 10 days.
- If non-absorbable sutures have been placed in the area of your surgery, you will need to have them removed in about one week. Resorbable sutures typically dissolve within the first week following surgery.
- If you underwent IV sedation, do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours following your surgery
- Please take all prescriptions as directed.
- All narcotic-containing medications may impair your ability to drive or operate mechanical equipment. Futhermore, using anti-anxiety agents, antidepressants, sleeping aids, alcohol and other drugs may cause adverse, potentially life-threatening interactions with prescribed medications. Please disclose all medication and alcohol use to Dr. Allen.
- Women, please note: some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Please check with your pharmacist or physician.
Call the Office if...
- You experience excessive discomfort that you cannot control with ice packs or your pain medication.
- You have bleeding that you cannot control by biting on gauze.
- You have increased swelling after the third day following your surgery.
- Your fever persists.
- You are experiencing any adverse reactions to prescribed medications.
- You have any questions.
Please contact us or call (909) 623-3421