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Post Operative Instructions Following Tooth Extraction

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Day One

Anesthetic Numbness: The length of time that you may experience numbness varies depending on the type of anesthetic you have received during your appointment. While your mouth is numb, be mindful that you do not bite your tongue, lip or cheek. The numbness from the anesthetic should subside within a few hours.

Drowsiness: This may persist for several hours following intravenous sedation – this is normal. Be aware that pain control prescriptions may also cause drowsiness. DO NOT operate any vehicle, mechanical device, heavy machinery or make ANY important decisions for 24 hours following intravenous sedation.

Please avoid: DO NOT disturb the surgical area today. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects or your fingers. DO NOT smoke for at least 72 hours, as this is disruptive to the healing process. DO NOT drink through a straw or “spit” – as these could lead to a “dry socket”

Bleeding: Gauze packs have been placed over the extraction sites to limit bleeding and confine the blood while clotting takes place. During this time, bite down on the gauze so as to apply constant, gentle but firm pressure. Make sure the pack(s) remain in place; avoid “sucking” on the extraction site, holding the gauze between the teeth rather than over the extraction site, “chewing” on the gauze and excessive talking. Change the first gauze pack(s) after 30 (thirty) minutes and then every 15 (fifteen) minutes thereafter, until the bleeding has stopped.

If the bleeding persists after taking the above measures, then substitute a tea bag (black tea is best) soaked in lukewarm water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in moist gauze for 20 – 30 minutes. Oozing may persist overnight – this is normal if it does (remember that a little blood mixed with saliva can LOOK like a lot of blood). However, if bleeding remains uncontrolled and you are concerned please call our office or the after hours number provided to you. If unable to contact us go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.

Pain: Following discharge from the office after surgery, obtain and then immediately take (if you have recently consumed food) the pain medications BEFORE the anesthetic has worn off. This has the advantage of allowing the pain medication to be already “working” as the anesthetic wears off. Remember, the more uncomfortable the more you are likely to swell.

Nausea is sometimes caused by stronger pain medications. Nausea may be reduced by preceding each pill with a minimal amount of soft food. Please contact us if nausea and/or vomiting persists.

Swelling: Facial swelling is normal following most extractions. Swelling normally increases for, and is the worst on the third day after surgery. You can help to reduce swelling and discomfort through the use of a cold compress/ice pack (externally) and the use of the pain medications prescribed. Apply cold to the face for 20 (twenty) minutes on and 20 minutes off, continuously while you are awake for the first 24 hours only.

Diet: Cold liquids are better the first day – Boost, Ensure or any meal replacement drink containing protein. This allows the blood clot(s) to stabilize and provides you’re body the protein it needs while it tries to repair itself. Avoid foods with small seeds (kiwi, strawberries, etc), sesame seeds themselves and rice all of which may become lodged in the socket areas.

Day Two and Three

Mouth Rinsing: After the first day, use a warm salt water rinse (1/4 teaspoon in 8oz water) 3 – 4 times a day for 5 days. DO NOT swish, instead move your tongue in an up/down – sideways motion as this is all the “agitation” you need and this will decrease likelihood of dislodging a clot. Restrict your diet to soft foods (soups & pastas), which are comfortable for you to eat. As the wounds heal, you will be able to advance your diet.

Brushing: 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.

Activity Level: Please avoid any exercising or other forms of physical exertion – lift nothing over a gallon of milk. The reason is this, the more active you are the higher your blood pressure and heart rate and you may begin bleeding again.

Follow Up

Remember to schedule your follow up appointment for 1 week (7 days) after your procedure. If you have not already set your appointment, please call the office at (909) 481-6867 to schedule your visit. It is the desire of Dr. Henderson and staff that your recovery be as pleasant and smooth as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but should you have questions regarding your progress, please give us a call.