GENERAL COMMENTS: Our goal is to have your healing be as comfortable and smooth as possible. Proper home care is very important. Here are some general instructions to follow while you are healing. If you have any difficulties or concerns after your surgery, please do not hesitate to call or return to the office for follow-up. Our office phone is 425.369.1533. If it is after hours, there is an emergency number on the answering machine.
Gauze: If you leave the office with gauze sponge in your mouth, you may discard it once you return home as long as bleeding has stopped, unless you have been instructed otherwise. DO NOT sleep with the gauze sponge in your mouth.
Stitches: Most stitches will dissolve in 7-10 days. If these sutures dissolve or fall out earlier don’t be alarmed, as they only need to be in place for a few hours to be effective. If you are having a graft procedure completed, the stitches will need to be in place for 3 weeks in order to allow for adequate healing.
Diet: We encourage you to drink fluids immediately following surgery and gradually begin eating softer foods as soon as possible. DO NOT use a straw for the first 2 weeks after surgery and avoid rice and brittle, crunchy or chewy foods for several days. A diet rich in protein-eggs, meats, cottage cheese-is desirable to promote healing.
If you are having a graft procedure completed, you must be on a soft to liquid diet for 7 – 10 days, and then soft foods for another 3 weeks, eating on the opposite side of the graft site.
Activity: If you were given I.V. sedation, you should not drive or become involved in activities that require judgment for 24 hours following surgery or be left unsupervised. Over-exertion may start or intensify your pain-avoid excessive work or play. It is not necessary to remain indoors following uncomplicated surgery. However, rest and minimal activity after extensive or prolonged oral surgery will greatly minimize pain, swelling and bleeding.
Swelling: This is common after oral surgery and may last as long as a week. Swelling may reach its peak 3 days after surgery, and even if it is severe it is ordinarily no cause for alarm. Call us if there is increased swelling after 3-4 days.
To help control initial swelling, apply an ice bag to the side of your surgery for 48hours after surgery. The more the ice is applied, the less swelling will develop. After 48 hours you can use a heat pack if needed.
Skin Discoloration/Bruising: The skin in the area of the surgery may become yellow, black and blue. This will gradually disappear within 10 – 21 days and requires no treatment.
Smoking: You should not smoke for 5-7 days after surgery. One cigarette may dramatically increase your pain and slow the healing.
Rinsing: You may rinse every 4-6 hours for the next three days with mouthwash.
If you were given a syringe in your homecare bag, please wait one week before using it. It is to be used only when food gets caught in the extraction area. Simply fill the syringe with water or mouthwash, and squirt the liquid in the surgical area.
Brushing: Start gently brushing the teeth the first evening, using hot water to soften the toothbrush bristles. Tooth paste is generally O.K. Take special care to be gentle around the surgical areas.
Bleeding: Some oozing of blood is to be expected for about the first 24 hours. If bleeding is extensive or prolonged, the following procedure should be followed: After rinsing your mouth several times with cold water, use sterile gauze to wipe away all blood clots not in the tooth socket or in the surgical area. Then take single folded gauze square; place it over the bleeding area and apply firm pressure by biting down on it for at least 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, repeat the process. Often a moistened regular tea bag wrapped in a single gauze placed over the surgery site and again apply firm biting pressure will quickly stop excessive bleeding. A quiet, upright position, the constant firm pressure of the gauze pack over the surgery area, and cold applied to the side of the face will control most bleeding. Blood clots in the mouth often appear grayish. If bleeding is continuous please call us at (425) 369-1533.
Pain: Some discomfort may be present for 7-10 days following the simplest surgery. Pain may be felt in the ear, under the lower jaw and in the temple region. Typically patients only require the prescription pain medicine for a few days, and can maintain comfort by continuing the use of the Ibuprofen.
For post-surgical pain and swelling, we recommend 800mg of Ibuprofen 4 times a day with the antibiotic. This would be at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. If prescription pain medications were provide, you can take one pill 1-2 hours after the Ibuprofen.
Antibiotics: If Dr. Clayhold has prescribed an antibiotic for your treatment, please fill the prescription prior to your appointment. Do not take any of the antibiotics before the appointment unless specifically instructed to do so.
The following items should cause No Concern:
- Slight oozing of blood for 24 hours
- Swelling which occurs within the first 48 hours
- Moderate discomfort controlled well by medication
- Discoloration of the skin next to the site of surgery
- A slight elevation of temperature during the first 24 hours after surgery
- Discoloration of the blood clot, unpleasant breath odor or “bad taste” in the mouth
The office should be called for any of the following:
- Profuse, uncontrollable bleeding
- Severe, uncontrollable pain
- Swelling which begins after the first 48 hours following surgery
- A markedly elevated temperature
- Any generalized itching or skin eruption (i.e. hives)
- Any situation which is not covered by these instructions or which you feel should be brought to our attention
The after-hours emergency phone number is 425.269.4244.