The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure, and postoperative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
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 becoming diminished.
- 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 and then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat, if necessary.
If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, sit upright, and try to avoid excitement and exercise. If bleeding still 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 eventual repair. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until two to three days after the operation. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. They should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed and left on continuously while you are awake up to 36 hours after surgery. Swelling or jaw stiffness persisting for several days is a normal reaction to surgery. After 36 hours has passed, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face can reduce swelling.
For moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every three to four hours, or two to four 200 mg tablets of Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) may be taken every three to four hours.
For severe pain, take the prescribed tablets as directed. The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile, work around machinery or drink alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more each day. If pain persists, call the office for further instructions.
After general anesthetic or IV sedation, liquids should be initially taken. Do not use straws – the sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot. Instead, drink from a glass. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from 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 five to six glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better 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 The 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 be sure to rinse gently. Begin rinsing with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt at least five to six times a day, especially after eating.
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green or yellow skin is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur two to three days after surgery. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics 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 orally ingest anything, including medicine, for at least an hour. You should then sip on soda, tea or ginger ale slowly over a 15-minute period. When the nausea subsides, you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
- If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs, there is no cause for alarm. 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 Dr. Perry Brooks or Dr. Seth Brooks 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 to standing. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy, so you could become lightheaded when you stand up. Before standing, you should sit upright for one minute.
- Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots. They are the bony walls which supported the tooth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by Dr. Perry Brooks or Dr. Seth Brooks. If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment, suVaselineseline.
- Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The throat muscles can become swollen after surgery, making the act of swallowing painful. This will subside in two to three days.
- Stiffness of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal postoperative event which will resolve in time.
Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize postoperative bleeding and aid healing. If they become dislodged, just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures will be removed approximately one week after surgery. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure.
The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your postoperative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur, call the office for instructions.
There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually fill in with the new tissue. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean with salt water rinses or a toothbrush, especially after meals.