Instructions for Patients After Surgery
You have just had a surgical procedure, which requires some personal home care on your part. A certain amount of discomfort, bleeding, and swelling is to be expected and should not be cause for worry. Everyone in this office is interested in your comfort and speedy recovery. Your cooperation with the following instructions will go a long way toward helping you have a smooth and uneventful post-operative course.
Our interest in your progress does not cease with the completion of your surgery. We sincerely hope your post-operative recovery is reasonably comfortable and uneventful. Our office cares about you. If there are any questions or concerns, please call our office at 813-250-9440
Mild bleeding is to be expected. TO STOP BLEEDING – place a folded piece of gauze over the surgical area and apply constant pressure by firmly biting for 30 – 45 minutes. Change the gauze as needed until the bleeding stops. It is helpful to remain quiet and restful with your head and shoulders slightly elevated during this time. Bleeding typically stops in 1-2 hours, but do not be alarmed if some minor oozing continues overnight, or if the saliva is pink. AVOID SPITTING AND RINSING FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS – spitting and rinsing will disrupt the blood clots that cause the bleeding to stop and allow healing to begin. You may see traces of blood for several days, especially following meals. If you become concerned that you seem unable to bring the bleeding under control, do not hesitate to call our office.
Post-operative pain of varying degree always follows surgery, and usually begins a few hours after your procedure when the local anesthetic wears off. It is not unusual to have more discomfort on the second or third day after your surgery than there is on the day of your procedure. Prescription pain medication has been provided for your comfort and should be taken as directed when needed. Do not take pain medications on an empty stomach. Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery while taking prescription pain medication.
DO NOT SMOKE FOR AT LEAST 5 DAYS FOLLOWING SURGERY. SMOKING WILL DELAY NORMAL HEALING AND INCREASE THE INTENSITY AND DURATION OF YOUR POST-OPERATIVE PAIN.
Smoking is a big risk factor for dry socket. A “dry socket” or, alveolitis, is when the blood clot is dislodged prematurely. Typically, dry socket symptoms start 4-6 days after the surgery was performed. Our doctors can diagnose and easily treat this condition.
Swelling may occur and increase following surgery for two to three days, depending on the procedure. TO CONTROL SWELLING – Apply an ice pack (these will be given to you at the time of surgery if we feel it is indicated) to the outside of the face over the area(s) of surgery continuously for the first 24-36 hours to help minimize swelling. AFTER 36 HOURS DO NOT — — USE ANY MORE ICE. Keep your head and shoulders slightly elevated for the first two days when awake and at night by sleeping on an additional pillow. Swelling will normally reach its peak 2 – 3 days following surgery. Moist heat compresses applied to the face beginning on the fourth day after surgery (but not sooner!) will help dissipate any swelling that has occurred.
Nausea may occur following oral surgery due to the medications taken, blood swallowed, or anxiety. Nausea is usually self-limiting and typically does not extend beyond the first post-operative day. Do not take medications on an empty stomach. Clear liquids and crackers may be better tolerated until nausea subsides. Coca-Cola (stirred to eliminate the fizz) is known to be effective in settling a nauseous stomach. Occasionally, anti-nausea medications may be prescribed for the patient with continuous post-op nausea.
It is necessary to keep your mouth clean following oral surgery, but care should be taken to not aggravate the healing areas. AVOID SPITTING AND RINSING FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS. Gentle rinsing can begin on the day after surgery, especially after meals. Gentle tooth brushing can be done on areas AWAY from the surgical sites.
Good nutrition is essential for healing after surgery, and eating frequent small meals is better tolerated than eating large meals. Be sure to aggressively re-hydrate by drinking plenty of fluids in the first 24 hours after your surgery. A soft diet (mashed potatoes, noodles, etc.) is recommended for the first few days. Avoid hard, crunchy foods (chips, popcorn, etc.). They can injure the healing tissues and get embedded in extraction sockets. AVOID DRINKING THROUGH A STRAW as this may result in disruption of the blood clots that form at the surgical sites and begin the healing process.
There are no set rules for post-operative activity, since people recover at different rates from different types of surgery. Use common sense, however, and limit your activity for the first few days following your procedure. Slowly re-introduce yourself to your normal routine of activity as tolerated, being sure to sit down and relax if you feel tired or dizzy. Vigorous exercise, including bending and lifting, should be avoided for several days following any oral surgery.
Most sutures we place will dissolve and fall out on their own within a week, however, if they become bothersome to you, they can be removed during a post-operative visit at our office.
PLEASE ALLOW A HEALING PERIOD OF AT LEAST TWO WEEKS AFTER YOUR SURGERY PRIOR TO SCHEDULING ANY ADDITIONAL DENTAL WORK.