After Wisdom Tooth Removal
The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain, as well as the risk of infection and swelling, can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
- Immediately Following Surgery
- Keep your mouth clean
- Nausea and Vomitting
- Other Complications
Immediately Following Surgery
Immediately Following Surgery
- 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 as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic wearing off.
- 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. Refer to the section on swelling for explanation.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. 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 thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, sit upright and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and part of the healing process. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and it may increase for 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two baggies 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 for 2 hours while you are awake. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Thirty-six hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.
For moderate pain, you may take 2-4 tablets (200mg per tablet) of over-the-counter Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) every 4-6 hours. Alternatively, you can take 1-2 tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol every 3-4 hours. Do not mix over-the-counter tylenol with prescription pain medication, as many prescription pain medications often contain acetaminophen (Tylenol).
For severe pain, take the prescribed pain medication as directed. The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more each day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.
After general anesthetic or I.V. sedation, liquids should be initially taken. However, straws should not be used. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. You may eat anything soft by chewing away form the surgical sites. High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Refer to the section on suggested diet instructions at the end of the brochure. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort and heal faster if you continue to eat.
Caution: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy. If you are lying down following surgery, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.
Keep your mouth clean
No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day especially after eating with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
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 a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days after surgery. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.
Nausea and 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 coke, tea or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine. In some instances you may be prescribed medication to help eliminate or reduce the nausea and/or vomiting.
- If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As stated before surgery, this is usually temporary in nature. 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.
- Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office. Tylenol or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
- You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You were not able to eat or drink prior to surgery, and your fluid intake may be limited in the early post-operative period. Taking pain medications can also make you dizzy. You could get light headed when you stand up suddenly, so before standing up, you should sit for one minute then get up.
- Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. Although they may feel like pieces of tooth, they are more likely the bony walls which supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by your doctor.
- 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. As your muscles get swollen, the normal act of swallowing may then become painful. This will subside in 2-3 days.
- Stiffness (Trimus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event which will resolve in time.
Sutures are often placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Occasionally they become dislodged, which is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture form your mouth and discard it. The sutures will absorb and fall out on their own approximately one week after surgery.
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 our office for instructions.
There will be a hole where the tooth was removed. Over the following several weeks, this hole will fill in with the new tissue. In the mean time, the area should be kept clean, especially after meals, with salt water rinses or an irrigating syringe if one has been given to you.
Your case is individual, as no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well intended advice from friends. If you have any question or concerns, please discuss them with your surgeon or general dentist.
Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle at the surgical sites.
A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Pain at the surgical site, which seems to be worse than day prior, and even pain to the ear may occur 3-4 days following surgery. Call the office if this occurs.
If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced, and exercise may weaken you. If you get light headed, stop exercising. Call Shreveport Phone Number Shreveport Phone Number 318-687-9800 with any questions.
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