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Post-Operative Instructions:
FAQ

How long will the bleeding last?

Active bleeding may continue 4–5 hours; light bleeding may continue off and on for several days and is considered normal. It is recommended to bite firmly and continuously on gauze for 45 minutes to 1 hour without opening the mouth. Talking or frequently changing the gauze will cause bleeding to continue. While actively bleeding, it is recommended to keep your head elevated on several pillows. If active bleeding does not slow down within 3–4 hours, fold gauze and bite firmly for 1 hour without letting up. Repeat this procedure several times. Tea bags can be used if necessary as a last attempt to control bleeding. You may dampen a regular tea bag, wrap with gauze, and bite firmly for 20 minutes. Drinking hot liquids can aggravate bleeding and needs to be avoided for the first 24 hours.

Will I have any swelling?

Swelling usually begins the evening of surgery. Swelling is normal for the first 2 days and peaks on the third day. After the third day, it should gradually decrease. If it doesn’t decrease, or it begins to increase, please contact our office. Three days of swelling is not an indication of infection.

How can I prevent nausea?

Make sure you have food in your stomach before taking any pain medications. Stomach irritation is not uncommon postoperatively. You may take Maalox® or Mylanta® to help. If you experience vomiting for longer than 3–4 hours, call our office.

What if I have an allergic reaction to my medication?

If you begin itching or break out in a rash, don’t take any future doses of medication, and call our office.

Do I need to use ice packs?

Apply ice starting on the first day of surgery. Rotate ice packs 20 minutes on, then 10 minutes off. This procedure should continue for the first 48 hours. After 48 hours, switch to warm, moist heat.

Do I need to return for my sutures to be taken out?

Sutures usually dissolve within 7–10 days. They may come out early (next day possibly), and this is normal. Always remember to keep the area clean.

What if I need a prescription refilled?

If pain medications are needed, you will need to call the office and schedule an appointment. Pain medications cannot be called in.

What types of foods can I eat?

Consume cool liquids and soft foods on the day of surgery. Examples of foods are soups, broths, Jell-O®, pudding, and yogurts. Avoid hot foods, as they will increase bleeding. After bleeding has stopped, the patient may advance their diet as tolerated.

Can I smoke?

Smoking is discouraged until healing is well established. Smoking severely delays the healing process and causes dry socket. Total cessation of smoking is highly recommended to ensure proper healing.

When can I start rinsing my mouth?

No rinsing, spitting, or drinking through a straw is recommended within the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, we recommend warm saltwater rinses periodically throughout the day for the next 7 days. Peridex™ rinse may be prescribed to use in the morning and before bedtime. Do not use for more than 7 days postoperatively.

Are headaches and jaw pain normal?

Headaches and jaw pain are normal postoperatively (especially after extractions) and may be due to grinding teeth. Pain is usually worse in the morning due to grinding teeth at night. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office.