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Post-Extraction Take-Home Surgery Instructions

Day of Surgery

First Hour

  • Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs, making sure they remain over the surgical site. This is what controls the bleeding. Only change them if they are soaked with blood.

Remainder of the Day

  • The packs may be gently removed after one hour. If excessive bleeding persists, replace with new gauze that has been moistened with tap water.
  • Do not disturb the surgical area today. No vigorous rinsing, no poking the area, no smoking, spitting, or any other sucking action (these will cause very painful dry socket about 7 days out).
  • Brush your teeth gently that first day.

Bleeding

  • Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal. To stop, place fresh gauze over area and bite firm but gentle for 30-45 minutes at a time.
  • If bleeding is excessive reposition the gauze so it is directly on the surgical site and bite firmly on the area for 30 minutes. As a last resort soak a black tea bag in very hot water, squeeze out water, and wrap in most gauze and bite for 20 minutes. If none of these work, please call our office.

Swelling

  • Swelling is to be expected and can worsen four days out from surgery.
  • To minimize swelling, use a cold pack wrapped in a towel and apply firmly to the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes at a time.
    Medication will help reduce swelling, (i.e. Ibuprofen).

Pain

  • You have just had a major surgery and will experience discomfort afterwards.
  • Remedy by taking the prescribed medication well in advance of your anesthetic wearing off.

Medication & Nausea

  • Take only the amount prescribed. Laws prevent us from prescribing more pain medication before the first prescription runs out. If a refill is needed, we are required to see you again to evaluate the cause of your continued discomfort. Therefore, prescriptions are only refilled during office hours and will not be replaced if they are lost or stolen.
  • Nausea can happen following surgery, usually a side effect of medications and how they are taken. Take pain medication with a small amount of food and lots of water to stop nausea.

Diet

  • Make sure to drink plenty of clear liquids during the healing process.
  • You must eat each day to heal quicker, gain strength, and ultimately feel better. Eat what you can comfortably eat. We recommend soft or liquid foods the first day. If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor.
  • Avoid hard, sharp, hot, spicy, and acidic foods, (i.e. chips, seeds, nuts, popcorn, etc.). They can irritate the area and cause bleeding.

Day 2 and Beyond

Mouth Rinsing

  • Warm salt water rinses can improve healing and comfort.
  • Don’t spit. Rather let the liquid dribble out of your mouth into the sink.

Brushing

  • Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Be gentle around the surgical area.

Swelling

  • You may press a warm moist towel to the cheek for 20 minutes at a time. This will also help with any stiffness.

What it Will Look Like

  • The gums will gradually close up the next few weeks.
  • The bone however will take 6 months or more to heal.
  • Your gums may appear red and possibly white. They will be swollen and bumpy. As the weeks progress, you will notice a cream colored center which is part of the normal healing process.

Sharp Edges

  • If you feel something hard or sharp in the surgical area, it is likely to be bone. This will smooth out over the next few months as your bone fills in. If the piece is loose, it may be a bone chip from the surgery. It is common and is only working its way to the surface. Remove it if you can or call the office and we will remove it for you.

Other Tidbits

  • Food debris can get into the surgical site and cause irritation and tenderness. Try to retrieve it with gentle rinsing. If you can’t, call our office.
  • After 5 days, you can rinse the area using a plastic irrigating syringe if you were given one by us.