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Post-Operative Instructions

We have prepared the following post-operative instructions for you. If you have questions please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention.

KEEP THE PROTECTIVE GAUZE PACK in position for TWO HOURS after surgery or until bleeding has stopped (just as it has been placed- out in the cheek areas and back as far as possible). Try to avoid opening the teeth. This pack serves several useful purposes, and your long-range postoperative course will be more comfortable and shortened appreciably if the pack remains undisturbed as directed.

PAIN may be expected soon after the surgery and reaches its maximum during the first few hours. It is recommended that one of your prescription tablets be taken approximately TWO HOURS after surgery, with a drink of water. Thereafter, take one only as needed (at 3 to 4 hour intervals, or according to your individual instructions). To allow a good night’s sleep the first nights after surgery, it is helpful to set your alarm clock to take a pain pill every 3.5 hours throughout the night. Although the medications are desirable to control pain, excess may result in nausea. To increase tolerance for drugs, it is helpful if the patient remains inactive or, better still, go to bed during the period of discomfort. One should not drive while taking medication for pain. In most cases, prescription medication is only necessary for the 24-36 hours. Beyond that, over the counter pain pills such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol may be used to relieve any discomfort. The sooner you begin non-prescription medication, the sooner you will recover.

BLEEDING is to be expected in variable amounts for several hours and oozing may continue throughout the night. This is normal and should not be cause for alarm. Saliva may be pink for 2-3 days. Control of this normal process is best affected by keeping the gauze sponges where they have been placed. If the bleeding seems to be excessive, there are several things to do. First, remove any superficial blood by thoroughly rinsing the mouth one time with cold water. Then, lace a tightly folded piece of clean gauze over the bleeding area, using enough gauze to apply firm pressure to the tissues when jaws are closed. Maintain pressure with the gauze pack for a full 30 minutes. Remain quiet and keep the head elevated. If this does not control the bleeding, wrap a moist black tea bag in gauze, place this over the socket and bite firmly. There will also be an increase in the amount of saliva as the anesthetic agents wear off one to three hours after surgery. This is also normal and should not be cause for alarm. Bleeding plus saliva therefore does cause a noticeable increase in the total volume of secretions. Hemorrhage (bright red bleeding that wells up rapidly from the socket) rarely occurs, but should this be a problem, please call.

SWELLING may be expected in variable amounts for one to three days after surgery. MORE swelling may occur on the SECOND OR THIRD day after surgery than on the first day. This is normal. It should decrease within a day. To minimize swelling, place an ice pack on the outside of the cheek in the area of the surgery. Use the ice pack intermittently (20 minutes on / 20 minutes off) for the first 24 hours after surgery. Hot packs should be used after 48 hours, such as a hot washcloth, hot water bottle or a heating pad on low (20 minutes on / 20 minutes off).

NOURISHMENT should not be neglected. During the day of surgery, liquids such as carbonated beverages, ice tea, milk shakes, instant breakfast, jello, etc are recommended. Colder foods are best on the day or surgery. If the sponges are in the proper position in the check area, their presence should not interfere with drinking fluids. After the packs are removed, soft solid foods may be taken if desired (cereal, egg, etc.). Do not use a straw for drinking for 2 days. Drink enough water the first two days to urinate every 2-3 hours (8-10 eight oz. Glasses a day).

NAUSEA If nausea is a problem, drink using small sips of clear liquids or carbonated beverages. Sipping frequently is better than taking large, single gulps. Also, sometimes the prescription pain medication can cause nausea or vomiting so try changing to an over the counter pill such as Advil (2-4 tablets every 4 hours) or Tylenol. You may decide to break the prescription pill to use ½ dose which may also help. Dairy products can sometimes cause nausea, so stay with clear liquids. Dehydration is often a main cause for nausea, so be sure you are well hydrated.

CONTINUED GOOD ORAL HYGIENE is important to normal healing. Starting the day after surgery, frequent gentle rinsing with very mild salt water solution (one teaspoon of salt to 8oz. Of warm tap water) or diluted mouthwash is encouraged. Brushing should also be resumed. Use salt water or mouthwash until the second day after surgery then rinse twice daily with hydrogen peroxide (followed with mouthwash for a more pleasant taste) for as long as required to keep the sockets clean.

    OTHER important instructions to follow:
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco for 48 hours after surgery

  • Discoloration of the skin is frequently seen in patients who “bruise” easily. It is due to bleeding from the operative site into the tissues.

  • Sutures may have been used to hasten the healing of the tissues. The sutures will dissolve on their own. It usually takes about 2 WEEKS for all awareness of a tooth extraction or other surgery procedure to be gone.

Our interest in your progress does not cease with the completion of the operation. We surely hope your postoperative course is reasonably comfortable and uneventful. Our office cares about you. And if there are any questions, please contact us.

4550 Post Oak Place Drive Ste 160
Houston,TX 77027
Telephone: (713) 981-0000
Fax: (713) 665-8885

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