Day of surgery

First hour: Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed between your teeth, 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. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30 or 45 min). 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. Try not to remove your dentures for the first 24 hours. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.

Oozing: Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal. Bleeding may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for 30-45 minutes at a time.

Persistent bleeding: Bleeding should never be severe. If so, it usually means that the packs are not exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning the packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may remove your Dentures and substitute a tea bag (soaked in warm water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in 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 24 hours after surgery. Be aware that if you remove your dentures for an extended period of time over the first 3 to 4 days, you may have trouble getting them back due to the swelling. If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed starting the day AFTER surgery.

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 cause nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances 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 and 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 decrease. 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. 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). Avoid food 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 following week or so. If they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.


Instructions for the second and third days

Mouth rinses: After the first 24 hours, remove your dentures. Rinse out the dentures with water. Rinse your mouth as directed and replace the denture. Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Mouth rinse may have been prescribed for you. If not, use 1/4 teaspoon of slat dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution. Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily.

Brushing: If you have any remaining teeth, begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. 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 sooth tender areas. This will also help decrease swelling and stiffness.

Healing: Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the thirds day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. For the first week after surgery wear your dentures as much as possible. If you leave them out of your mouth for an extended period of time you may not be able to get them back in your mouth due to swelling. The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, steady improvement. If you don't see continued improvement, please call our office. If you are given a plastic irrigating syringe, DO NOT use it for the first three days. Then use it daly after every meal until you are certain the tooth socket has closed completely and that there is no chance of any food particles lodging in the socket.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth as pleasant as possible. Rolling these instructions will assist you, but if you have any questions about your progress please contact the office. 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.