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Mouth Care Following Dental Extractions

Begin brushing your teeth in the evening after surgery.
Avoid vigorous exercise and get adequate rest.
Apply pressure pack for 30 minutes if bleeding persists. Be sure the pack is directly over the extraction site.
Enjoy any diet you can tolerate. Drink plenty of fluids. Do not use straws.
Use ice packs during the first 24-48 hours. Do not apply heat.
Do not take pain medication on an empty stomach.
Do not smoke or use tobacco products after surgery for seven days. Smoking greatly increases your risk of “dry sockets.”
Do not drive for 24 hours after having intravenous anesthesia nor while taking prescription pain medication.

Emergency Calls

If you have an after hours concern of an emergency nature, please call our office. Our answering services will contact the oral surgeon on call.

Care of the Mouth Following Oral Surgery

–Rinses. Beginning the day after surgery, rinse the mouth using a full glass of warm water in which a half-teaspoon of salt has been dissolved. This is important both for healing and hygienic purposes. These rinses should be repeated four to six times daily, especially after meals and before bedtime. Brush teeth regularly. Patients on sodium restricted diets should only use plain warm water. Prescription mouth rinses in addition to these salt rinses should be started the day of surgery.

–Diet. After surgery it may be necessary to eat soft foods such as soup, pasta, casseroles, mashed potatoes, or yogurt at the beginning of recovery. Avoid foods such as peanuts, popcorn, chips, etc. that may become “stuck” in the sockets. As soon as possible, return to your normal diet. (You will feel better, have more strength, less pain and heal faster if you continue to eat.)

–Fluids. It is very important that fluid intake be adequate. Even though it may seem excessive, an adult should consume two to three quarts of fluid each day. Children should have a proportional amount.

–Rest. It is always important to get a minimum of eight to ten hours of sleep following any surgery. Elevating your head while sleeping will minimize swelling.

–Pain. The amount and duration of pain one should expect are very unpredictable. If you are having more pain that can be tolerated with aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or with the prescription you may have received, call the office. After removal of impacted teeth, if you have taken ibuprofen in the past without problems, we recommend 600 mg (3 over-the-counter ibuprofen i.e., Advil, Nuprin, etc.) immediately after surgery, and 400-600 mg every 4 hours for 2-3 days. If you received a prescription follow the directions on the bottle.

–Fever. A low grade fever is usual after even a simple procedure. Fever may be caused by inadequate fluid intake as well. If excessive, or at all questionable, do not hesitate to phone the office.

–Swelling. Swelling is to be expected following surgery. To help control this, apply an ice bag to the side of the face. To be most effective, the application of ice packs should begin as soon as possible. Remember, swelling reaches maximum level two days (48 hours) after surgery.

–Bleeding. After your teeth were removed, a gauze compress was placed on the wound and you were asked to keep your jaws closed tightly for 30 minutes. This compress may then be discarded.

Some oozing will continue and is to be expected for the first 24-48 hours. This is normal and is no cause for alarm.

If excessive bleeding occurs, take a 4 by 4-inch piece of gauze, moisten and fold to make a firm compress, place directly on the area which is bleeding and apply firm, steady, biting pressure for 40 minutes. Sit upright, keep quiet, avoid spitting or talking while biting on the pack. This may have to be repeated several times. If these measures do not succeed, call our office. After office hours, our answering service will take your message and reach the doctor on call.

–Stitches. In some cases stitches have been placed in the surgical area. Dissolvable stitches are most often used, and generally fall out in a few days or in a week and make removal unnecessary.

–Nausea. Nausea or upset stomach following general anesthesia is relatively common. Other causes could be the “pain pills” or antibiotics. If nauseated avoid pain medication. If vomiting is a problem, please call the office. Instructions can be given or a medication can be ordered.

–Dry Socket. You can expect to be sore for awhile following surgery. Start your antibiotics the day of your surgery unless you are nauseated. Dry socket is a common problem that causes increasing pain 3 to 6 days after surgery. If your pain begins to increase noticeably after several days, please call.


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