After Tooth Extraction
Post Operative Care
Please read these instructions carefully.
A tooth extraction is a surgical procedure. Therefore, it is natural that temporary changes will occur in the mouth afterward. You will be functioning normally within a few days. In the meantime, you should follow a few simple guidelines to help promote healing, prevent complications, and make yourself more comfortable.
We have placed a gauze pack on the extraction site(s) to limit bleeding while clotting takes place. Bite down firmly on the gauze, making sure they remain in place. Continue to change the gauze packs every 30-40 minutes until the gauze is half white/half red or pink. If you become hungry or thirsty, remove the gauze while eating or drinking and replace it when you are finished. To replace gauze, fold a clean piece into a pad thick enough to bite on. Dampen the pad and place it directly on the extraction site. Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, it usually means the gauze is being clenched between the teeth rather than exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning fresh packs or a moistened teabag may be substituted for the gauze pad if bleeding persists. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.
Often there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. You can expect swelling to peak up to 2-3 days after surgery. You can help minimize this by applying cold compresses or an ice bag to your face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off for the first 24 hours after your surgery.
After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket. This is an important part of the normal healing process. You should therefore avoid activities that might disturb the surgical area. Do not rinse your mouth vigorously or probe the area with any objects or your fingers. Do not smoke or drink through a straw for 72 hours following your surgery. These activities create suction in the mouth, which could dislodge the clot and delay healing. If you do not care for the taste in your mouth, drink some fluids or use a wet washcloth and wipe your tongue, but please stay away from the surgical area. Avoid strenuous activity for the first 24 hours after your procedure. This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form.
After your surgery, you will want to eat nourishing food that can be eaten comfortably. Temperature of the food does not matter, but avoid extremely hot foods and liquid. We recommend soft foods such as mash potatoes, pasta, yogurt, and pudding. Also, avoid foods such as nuts, popcorn, rice, sesame seeds, etc. This type of small food may get lodged in the socket area. Over the next several days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible and follow instructions from our office or your physician regarding your insulin schedule.
Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You may be prescribed medication to control discomfort and should take your first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, this will better allow you to manage any discomfort. Although medicine for discomfort may be prescribed, it may not always be needed. You may substitute for over-the-counter Advil, Motrin or whatever you use for a headache. The length of time you experience numbness varies, depending on the type of anesthetic you have received. The numbness should subside within a few hours. While your mouth is numb you’ll want to be careful not to bite on your cheek, lip or tongue.
Nausea may occur after surgery, and is sometimes caused by stronger medications for discomfort. Nausea may be reduced by preceding each pill with a small amount of soft food, then taking the pill with a large amount of water. Staying in a reclined position also seems to settle the stomach. You may also have been prescribed a medication for nausea, which should be taken as directed.
Instructions for the Second and Third Day
Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. The day following your surgery, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (half a tsp. of salt in an 8oz. glass of warm water). Place the solution in your mouth and gently rotate your head from side to side. Please do not swish.
After the second day, you can gradually become more aggressive. Repeat as often as you like, but at least three to four times a day until you return to see the doctor for your follow up visit. Avoid using a mouth rinse or mouthwash during this early healing period.
Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.
If a dry socket occurs (loss of blood clot from socket, usually on the 3rd to 5th day), there is a noticeable, distinct, persistent throbbing pain in the jaw, often radiating toward the ear and forward along the jaw to cause other teeth to ache. If you do not see steady improvement during the first few days after surgery, don’t suffer needlessly. Call the office and report symptoms so you can be seen as soon as possible.
When medications are placed in the vein, there may be inflammation at the injection site (phlebitis) which may cause discomfort and temporarily restrict arm and hand motion. Please notify our office if you have any concerns or notice any swelling and/or redness.
IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS, DR. LIPPISCH OR DR. ENGEBRETSEN IS AVAILABLE BY BEEPER 24 HOURS A DAY, AND CAN BE REACHED BY CALLING OUR OFFICE NUMBER William E. Lippisch, D.M.D, P.A. and Shawn T. Engebretsen, D.M.D, P.A. Phone Number (772) 223-0600, LEAVING A MESSAGE INCLUDING YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER.