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The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if instructions are followed carefully.
Bleeding will occur after surgery, and it is not uncommon to ooze blood for 24-48 hours after surgery. Keep in mind that oral bleeding represents a little blood and a lot of saliva. Placing a gauze pack over the area and biting firmly will control bleeding. If oozing is still active, replace gauze as needed. If bleeding continues or begins again, sit upright or in a recliner, avoid physical activity, use ice packs on the sides of the face where surgery was performed and bite gauze for 1 hour or on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels.
DO NOT RINSE, SPIT, OR DRINK THROUGH A STRAW - This will cause suction and could result in bleeding. If you wish to clear blood from your mouth, let it drip into the sink, but do not rinse or spit.
Discomfort is common after any surgical procedure. Take the pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon.
For mild to moderate pain you may switch to your choice of over the counter pain medication. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens beyond the third day after surgery or unusual symptoms occur, please call our office.
NOTE: Tylenol should not be taken concurrently with the prescription pain medication as this typically already has Tylenol as an ingredient and could result in overdosage.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days after surgery. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. A zipper lock bag filled with ice, or ice pack should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. If continuous use is uncomfortable, then use it for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Apply the ice continuously as much as possible for the first 36 hours.
Suggested way to apply ice: Fill two zipper lock bags with crushed ice. Cut a pair of pantyhose at thigh, and slide both bags halfway down the leg (to about the knee). Tie ends of pantyhose on top of the patients head and adjust ice to side of face.
On the day of surgery, we recommend cool liquids and soft cool foods. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Try not to miss a meal.
Please avoid popcorn, nuts and seeds for 6 weeks after your extractions.
Discoloration or bruising
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to bruising beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Beginning 36-hours after surgery, moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infection. If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction, and call the office.
Female Patients: Antibiotics and other medications may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. An additional form of birth control should be utilized for one complete cycle of birth control pills after the course of antibiotics or other medication is complete.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can occur as a result of swallowed blood, discomfort or anesthesia. Post-operative nausea is usually self-limiting and sipping on FLAT cola (Pepsi or Coke) often helps. Soda crackers may also be used with the cola. If nausea persists, stop taking the pain medication and substitute an over the counter pain medication for the next dose. If nausea is persistent, call our office.
Smoking, chewing or dipping will retard healing, cause increased discomfort and increase the chance of dry sockets. We strongly advise you to discontinue these habits during your healing phase.
Keep the mouth clean. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery, but be gentle around the surgical sites. If there is no bleeding, salt-water rinses may begin 24 hours after surgery. (Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water.) Swish gently and allow the water to drip into the sink. Rinses should be done 2 to 3 times per day, especially after eating.
Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it.
Under most circumstances, the sutures will dissolve approximately one week after surgery. Should you require the removal of sutures, this procedure requires no anesthesia or needles. It takes only a minute or so, and there is no discomfort associated with this procedure.
Activities after surgery should be couch or bed rest for the first day. Bending, lifting, or strenuous activity will cause increased bleeding, swelling, or other problems. You should be careful going from the lying down position to standing. You could get light-headed when you stand up suddenly. If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal fluid and caloric intake is reduced. Exercise in the post-operative period may also result in increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Exercise should be avoided for 3-4 days following surgery.