Instructions Following Surgery

YOU ARE LEGALLY IMPAIRED FOR 24 HOURS FOLLOWING A GENERAL ANESTHETIC OR IV SEDATION. DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE HAZARDOUS MACHINERY.

1. Bleeding
Some bleeding is normal following your surgery. To control bleeding, place tightly rolled gauze over the surgical site and apply firm, constant biting pressure for one hour after your procedure. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by placing a cool, moistened tea bag over the surgical site for one hour while applying pressure. Replace gauze every hour or when eating or taking medication. Rest with your head elevated on two or more pillows for the first day. If bleeding does not stop or suddenly starts again, it is usually due to irritation of the wound by mouth or gauze movement, frequent gauze changes, or failure to limit your activity and rest.


2. Bruising
Bruising may be present to varying degrees but is usually not severe. It will subside within five to ten days.


3. Swelling
Some swelling is almost always present following dental surgery and is caused by bleeding in the tissues. Ice packs will help reduce the swelling, but should not be placed directly on the exposed skin. Rather, wrap an ice pack in a damp towel and place on the sides of your face for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off while awake. Swelling typically reaches its maximum in 48 hours.


4. Limited Mouth Opening
This is a normal protective mechanism caused by accumulation of fluid in the jaw muscles to help healing. Limited opening usually subsides in 2 weeks. 


5. Pain
Pain may vary from non-existent to severe, depending on the extent of your procedure, but some discomfort should be expected. Painkillers are meant to reduce discomfort, but will not always eliminate it. Dental anesthesia/freezing will last about 4 hours on the top jaw and at least 8 hours on the bottom. Do not wait for discomfort or pain before taking medication. Start taking your recommended painkillers before the freezing wears off. Approximate time of first post-surgical dose. Avoid smoking, spitting or sucking through a straw for 3 days. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the blood clots, increasing both your discomfort and your healing time.


6. Oral Hygiene
Do not rinse your mouth or attempt to clean around the surgical site the first 24 hours. Rinsing should start the day following your surgery. Use 1 tsp. of salt in 8 ounces (250 ml) of warm water or you may be provided with a prescription for antibacterial mouth rinse (chlorhexidine). If you have been provided with a mouth rinse prescription, rinse lightly after every meal for 7 days. Use cleaning syringe provided no sooner than 7 days after your procedure with the salt solution after every meal.

7. Diet & Nutrition
• Begin drinking cool clear fluids as soon as possible to prevent dehydration. It is important that you drink ample fluids in small frequent amounts (e.g. water, fruit and vegetable juices and soups such as broth). Avoid hot liquids for 2 days.
• Increase to soft diet as tolerated (e.g. eggs, mashed potatoes and well cooked pasta, yogurt).
• Do not eat foods with husks or seeds (e.g. popcorn, sesame seeds, strawberries, poppy seeds) as they are easily lodged in the surgical sites and may cause infection and therefore should be avoided.
• Rest and nutrition are important components of healing. You may feel tired and achy after a general anesthetic. This is less common after IV sedation. Avoid strenuous exercise. A quiet evening of rest will allow your body to begin to heal.


8. Sutures / Fillings
Stitches are dissolveable. They take approximately one week to dissolve, but may fall out after a few days. While stitches are in place they will feel like a thread in your mouth.
If you had fillings placed, your bite may require adjusting. This procedure takes 5-10 minutes and does not require any anesthetic. Please call the office if your bite feels high following your appointment.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT OUR OFFICE IS NOTIFIED OF ANY UNEXPECTED ADMISSIONS TO HOSPITAL WITHIN 10 DAYS OF YOUR DENTAL PROCEDURE. 

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