Post-Operative Instructions: General

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Sutures (Stitches)

If dissolvable sutures were placed during your surgery, they will dissolve in approximately 5-7 days. If non-dissolvable sutures were placed, you will be notified when they will be removed.

Pain Management

  • The best way to treat pain is to prevent it from starting! Take the recommended pain medication BEFORE the local anesthesia (“Novocaine”) wears off, beginning immediately after surgery.
  • Numbness may last up to 12 hours.
  • Continue taking the non-opioid pain medication consistently for the first few days to limit pain and swelling, even if you are not experiencing pain.

We recommend:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) 500 mg: Take 1 pill every 6 hours for 5 days, then take only as needed for continued pain.
  • NOTE: Never take more than 4000 mg of Acetaminophen in 24 hours*
  • Ibuprofen (Advil®/Motrin®) 600mg: Take 1 pill every 6 hours for 5 days, then take only as needed for continued pain.
  • NOTE: Never take more than 3200 mg of Ibuprofen in 24 hours*
  • Take both Tylenol and Motrin together!
  • Narcotic/ Opioid: (see prescription): This is the last resort in pain management, and should only be taken for severe pain that is not relieved by Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. Opioids often cause nausea/ vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, and addiction, and so opioids are best avoided, unless absolutely necessary. Do NOT consume alcohol while taking opioids. If the prescribed medication does not seem to work for you. Do NOT increase the dosage. Please call our office for recommendations.

Other Medications

Other medications, including antibiotics, Sudafed®, Ocean® Saline, and Afrin® Nasal Spray, are taken the day of the surgery. If you receive chlorhexidine rinse, then begin use 2 days after surgery

Bleeding

  • Bleeding typically stops within a few hours after surgery. Slight oozing or occasional bleeding for the first 3 days is normal.
  • Keep the gauze pad(s) directly on the surgical site(s) for 30 minutes.
  • Do NOT chew on the pad. Maintain firm biting pressure for 30 minutes, and change the pad every 30 minutes until the bleeding subsides.
  • If bleeding continues after the above measures, moisten a black tea bag and place it over the surgical site(s) with gauze pads over it, and maintain firm biting pressure for at least 30 minutes. If heavy bleeding persists after 5-6 hours of continuous applied pressure, please call our office.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for 7 days. Strenuous exercise after surgery may cause bleeding and throbbing.
  • Do NOT blow your nose or cover your nose while sneezing.

Swelling & Bruising

  • Swelling is normal following most oral surgery. Swelling normally increases for 3 days and begins to subside about the 5th day. To help reduce swelling and pain, apply cold compresses to the face for 20 minutes on and 5 minutes off for the first 36 hours. Sit/sleep with your head elevated with 2-3 pillows, or in a recliner. After 36 hours, switch to gentle heat to help reduce the swelling.
  • Bruising may arise after surgery depending upon the surgery and the patient’s tendency to bruise. Bruising typically resolves, as any other bruise does, over a course of a few days to 2 weeks.

Oral Hygiene & Rinsing

  • Resume gently brushing your teeth the next morning. If toothpaste causes discomfort, brush your teeth without toothpaste. Do NOT forcefully rinse or spit; this may dislodge the blood lot and cause pain or bleeding. After 12 hours, begin gently rinsing warm salty water following meals to soothe the gums and keep food particles out of the surgical site(s). If prescribed, the Chlorhexidine (Peridex) mouthwash should be used 2 days after surgery and continued 2 times daily for at least 7 days. Do NOT use Listerine® or any other mouthwash (beside Chlorhexidine, if prescribed) for 7 days.

Smoking & Alcohol

  • Do not smoke/e-cig/vape for 2 weeks. Do NOT drink alcohol for at least 7 days following your surgery. Smoking and/or alcohol delay wound healing and are the major causes of dry socket and infections (painful).

After Sedation

Drowsiness may persist for several hours following sedation. This is normal, and the effects will continue to wear off over the next 12-24 hours. Patients should not drive or operate any machinery for 24 hours.

When You Should Notify the Doctor:

  • Heavy bleeding persists after 5-6 hours of continuous applied pressure.
  • Symptoms of an allergy or reaction to the medication such as a rash, hives, itching, severe diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • If, 4 days after the surgery, you have an increase in pain or swelling with a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting.
  • A fever above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You continue to feel numb more than 24 hours after your surgery without any improvement.
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