Postoperative Instructions                                                      Print this page


PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.  Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply.  Common sense will often dictate what you should do.  However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification at (570) 455-5889.


 

        DAY OF SURGERY

FIRST HOUR

Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place.  Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled.  The packs may be gently removed after one hour.  If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning.

EXERCISE CARE

Do not disturb the surgical area today. DO NOT SPIT. DO NOT RINSE. DO NOT PROBE the area with any objects.  You may brush your teeth gently after 24 hours.  PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE for at least 7 days, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.

OOZING

Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight and for up to 24 hours is normal.  Severe Bleeding may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for 30-60 minutes at a time.

PERSISTENT BLEEDING

Bleeding should never be severe.  If so, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between teeth only and are not exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning the packs.  If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in very hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in a moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes.  If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.

SWELLING 

Swelling is often associated with oral surgery.  It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area.  This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 12 to 24 hours after surgery.  If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed.  After 24 hours, it is usually best to switch from ice to moist heat to the same areas.

PAIN

Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort.  You will usually have a prescription for pain medication.  If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better.  Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced.  The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals.  If you do not achieve adequate relief at first, you may supplement each pain pill with an analgesic such as aspirin or ibuprofen.  Some patients may even require two of the pain pills at one time.  Remember that the most severe pain is usually within six hours after the local anesthetic wears off; after that your need for medicine should lessen.  If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office.  If you anticipate needing more prescription medication for the weekend, you must call for a refill during weekday business hours.

NAUSEA

Nausea is not uncommon after surgery.  Sometimes pain medications are the cause.  Nausea can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food, and taking the pill with a large volume of water.  Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize dosing of pain medications, but call us if you do not feel better. Classic Coca Cola may help with nausea.

DIET

Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort.  Avoid extremely hot foods.  Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery.  It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.)  It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas.  Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods.  It is important not to skip meals!  If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.  If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor.

SHARP EDGES 

If you feel something hard or sharp edges in the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls which once supported the extracted teeth.  Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery. They are not pieces of tooth and, if necessary, we will remove them. Please call the office if your are concerned. 

 

         INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SECOND AND THIRD DAYS

 

MOUTH RINSES 

Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential.  Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful.  Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily for the next 5 days.

BRUSHING

Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. In fact, gentle brushing of the surgery site should begin approximately 72 hours from the time of your extraction.  Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.

HOT APPLICATIONS

You may apply warm compresses to the skin over the areas of swelling (hot water bottle, hot moist towels, heating pad) for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help soothe tender areas.  This will also help decrease swelling and stiffness.

SYRINGE

If you were given an irrigating syringe at your surgical visit, start using it the fifth to seventh day after surgery to keep sockets clean. Fill it with warm water and irrigate any open sockets gently, especially after eating.

DRY SOCKETS

Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first day of surgery is usually the most uncomfortable and there is some degree of swelling and stiffness.  The second day you will usually be far more comfortable and, although still swollen, you can usually begin a more substantial diet. From the third day on GRADUAL, STEADY IMPROVEMENT should mark the remainder of the post-operative course. If a DRY SOCKET occurs (loss of blood clot from socket, usually on the 3rd to 5th day) there is a noticeable, distinct, persistent throbbing pain in the jaw, often radiating toward the ear and forward along the jaw to cause other teeth to ache.   If you do not see steady improvement during the first few days after surgery, don’t suffer needlessly.  Call the office and report symptoms so you can be seen as soon as possible.


It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office where you had surgery.  A 24-hour answering service is available to contact the doctor on call after hours.  Calling during office hours will afford a faster response to your question or concern. PLEASE NOTE: telephone calls for narcotic (pain killer) prescription renewal are ONLY accepted during office hours.

 

Frank Falcone, Jr., D. M. D., Falcone Oral & Maxilofacial Surgery, P. C.
Medical Arts Complex, Suite 10, 668 N. Church St., Hazleton, PA  1820  (570) 455-5889
drfalcone.com