- Do not have anything to eat or drink (not even water) for six (6) hours prior to the surgical appointment. If you take regular medications, you may take them with a small sip of water. Please inform the Doctor and nursing staff if this is the case at the time of consultation. If you have questions regarding this, please contact our office.
- No smoking for twelve (12) hours prior to and twelve (12) hours following the procedure. Ideally, do not smoke until there has been 100% healing and recovery.
- A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, and drive the patient home. If the patient is under 18 years of age, the parent or legal guardian must be present.
- Loose fitting clothing must be worn with sleeves which can be rolled up past the elbow. Also low-heeled shoes such as sneakers are recommended.
- Contact lenses, jewelry, and dentures must be removed prior to the surgery.
- Makeup, lipstick, and nail polish should not be worn on the day of surgery.
- The patient should not drive a car or operate machinery for 24 hours following the surgery. In addition, if narcotic pain killers are prescribed, the patient should not drive a car or operate machinery while under the influence of the prescriptions.
Post-operative instructions following surgery, wisdom tooth removal, extractions, etc.
- The removal of wisdom teeth is a serious surgical procedure and is much different from the removal of erupted teeth. Proper post-operative care is important following oral surgery to avoid or minimize complications.
- Some swelling, bruising, stiffness, discomfort, and oozing of blood is expected after surgery. If possible, a responsible adult should be available to observe the patient for the duration of the day of surgery.
Immediately Following Surgery:
- Place ice packs on the side(s) of the face where the surgery was performed.
- The gauze pad(s) placed over the surgical site(s) as a protective dressing should be left in place for about one hour following the surgery with gentle pressure applied. After this time, the gauze should be carefully removed and discarded.
- Rinsing or touching of the surgical area should be avoided as this may cause bleeding by disloging the blood clot that has formed.
- Activity should be restricted on the day of the surgery. Normal activity may be resumed when you feel comfortable.
- The prescribed pain medications should be taken as soon as you begin to feel discomfort.
- Be careful to not suddenly stand up as it may cause dizziness. Make sure to sit for one minute before standing.
- A certain amount of bleeding is expected after surgery. Bleeding, oozing, or a reddish color in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by rinsing the mouth gently, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty (30) minutes. This can be repeated if necessary. If bleeding further continues, bite on a moist tea bag for thirty (30) minutes. This will help slow the bleeding and form a clot. To minimize further bleeding, sit upright or with head elevated on several pillows and avoid exercise or activity. In addition, do not consume extremely hot food (hot coffee, hot soup, etc.) or sharp food (pretzels, peanuts, chips, etc.) as this may dislodge a formed clot. If bleeding does not subside, call the office number at any time.
- If nausea occurs immediately in the post-operative period, it can often be increased by taking pain medication. Remember not to take the pain medication on an empty stomach. Post-operative nausea may be relieved by taking small quantities of a carbonated beverage such as Ginger Ale or Sprite every hour. This can be followed with mild tea (luke warm), broth (luke warm), and soft foods.
- Swelling and stiffness are common following surgery. Swelling may increase over the first two days following the surgery, and then it should begin to subside.
- Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. The swelling usually reaches its maximum 2-3 days after the surgery.
- Ice can be used for the first 12-24 hours after surgery by applying it to the cheeks near the surgical area(s) for 20 minutes, then removing it for 20 minutes alternately.
- After the initial 24 hour period, ice should no longer be used, and you may switch to warm, moist heat. Warm, moist heat may be applied to the jaws on the 2nd and 3rd days following the surgery. The stiffness that may occur is usually relieved by the application of heat and gentle stretching exercises.
- Depending on the nature of the surgery which was performed and the individual response of the patient, some discoloring and bruising due to blood spreading beneath the tissues may appear on the face 2-5 days after the surgery. If this occurs, there is no need for alarm.
- Many times, the roots of the teeth are adjacent to the nerves in the jaw. When the tooth is removed, the nerve may be slightly disturbed which may lead to a numbness of your chin, lower lip, and lower teeth on that side. No one can determine exactly how long this will remain but it is rarely permanent.
- If necessary, a prescription for pain medication will be provided. It is recommended that the prescription be started approximately 1-2 hours after the surgery and continued as directed and/or as necessary.
- For moderate pain, Tylenol (Acetaminophen) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may be taken every 3-4 hours.
- For severe pain, take the medicine prescribed for pain as directed. The prescribed medication could cause drowsiness. Do not drive an automobile or operate machinery while taking the medication. In addition, avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort after surgery should lessen each day. If pain persists, call the office.
- After surgery, liquids should be taken at first.
- Straws should not be used as the sucking motion can cause bleeding by dislodging the blood clot.
- Anything soft may be eaten (Jell-O, soups, yogurt, protein shakes, etc.) being sure to chew away from the surgical site(s).
- High calorie, high protein intake is very important to give the body strength to recover. Nourishment should be taken regularly.
- To avoid the risk of dehydration, fluids should be taken regularly.
- Try not to miss a single meal as you will feel better, have more strength, and heal faster if adequate food intake is maintained.
- Rinsing, spitting, and tooth brushing should be avoided on the day of the surgery. Beginning the day after surgery, frequent, gentle rinsing with mild, warm salt water is encouraged at least 5-6 times a day especially after eating. Brushing should also be resumed, being careful to avoid the surgical site for the first two days.
- Antibiotics may be given post operatively to reduce the chance of infection. These should be taken as directed until all of the pills or liquid is finished. If a rash or adverse reaction occurs, discontinue use and call the office immediately. Women please note: some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your pharmacist.
- Activities for the first 24 hours should be minimal. Rest quietly with head elevated.
- Smoking should be discontinued for at least 3 days.
- Do not expect to return to work or normal activities immediately. Two to three days rest is recommended and subsequently resuming activities as they are tolerated.
- Vigorous physical activities and sports should not be resumed until the surgical areas are comfortable, swelling is resolved, and a normal diet is possible. Usually contact sports should not be resumed for approximately one week post-operatively.
- Slight elevation of temperature following surgery is not uncommon. If this persists, contact the office.
- Occasionally, hard projections may be felt. These are the bony walls which supported the tooth which was removed. These usually smooth out on their own but may be removed by the Doctor if they do not.
- The corners of the mouth may be stretched from the surgery and may dry out and crack. Vaseline or other ointments may be used to keep them moist.
- Stiffness of the jaw muscles may make it difficult to open your mouth for a few days after surgery. This is normal and should resolve in time.
- Sore throats and pain when swallowing are also common. This should subside in 2-3 days.
Keep in Mind
- Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to aid in healing and minimize post-operative bleeding. They may become dislodged. If this occurs, remove the suture and discard it. The sutures will fall out or be removed approximately one week after surgery.
- There will be a cavity (hole) where the tooth was removed. The cavity will fill in gradually with new tissue. The area should be kept clean with rinsing or a toothbrush.
- The pain and swelling should subside more each day following the surgery. If post-operative pain or swelling worsens please call the office.
- A dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes dislodged prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur 2-3 days after the surgery. Call the office if this occurs.
- If there is any difficulty in breathing, fever, excessive bleeding or any other disturbing problems following the surgery, you should call the office immediately. There is a 24-hour answering service after office hours that can reach the Doctor.
Remember Your Follow-up Visit
- It is often advisable to return for a post-operative visit to make certain that healing is progressing satisfactorily. A follow-up visit will be scheduled free of charge. In the meantime, maintain a proper diet, be mindful of proper hygiene, and visit your dentis for regular check-ups.