Home Care Instructions

Postoperative Instructions

Wound Care

  • Bite firmly on gauze pack that has been placed for 30 minutes.
  • Do not smoke for at least 12 hours, because this will promote bleeding and interfere with healing.

Bleeding

  • Some blood will ooze from the area of surgery and is normal. You may find a blood stain on your pillow in the morning, so it is advisable to use an old pillowcase the first night.
  • Do not spit or suck thick fluids through a straw, because this promotes bleeding.
  • If bleeding begins again, place a small damp gauze pack directly over the tooth socket and bite down firmly for 30 minutes.
  • Keep your head elevated with several pillows or sit in a lounge chair.

Discomfort

  • Some discomfort is normal after surgery. It can be controlled but not eliminated by taking the pain pills your dentist has prescribed.
  • Take your pain pills with a whole glass of water and with a small amount of food if the pills cause nausea.
  • Do not drive or drink alcohol if you take prescription pain pills.

Diet

  • It is important to drink a large volume of fluids. Do not drink through a straw.
  • Eat normal regular meals as soon as possible after surgery. Cold, soft food such as ice cream or yogurt may be the most comfortable for the first day.

Oral Hygiene

  • Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for the first 8 hours after surgery.
  • After that, rinse gently with warm salt water (1/2 tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of warm water) every 4 hours.
  • Brush your teeth gently, but avoid the area of surgery.

Swelling

  • Swelling after surgery is a normal body reaction. It reaches its maximum about 48 hours after surgery and usually lasts 4-6 days.
  • Applying ice packs over the area of surgery for the first 12 hours helps control swelling and may help the area to be more comfortable.

Rest

  • Avoid strenuous activity for 12 hours after your surgery.

Bruising

  • You may experience some mild bruising in the area of your surgery. This is a normal response in some persons and should not be cause for alarm. It will disappear is 7-10 days.

Stiffness

  • After Surgery you may experience jaw muscle stiffness and limited opening of your mouth. This will improve in 5-10 days.

Immediate Denture Care

  • Remove denture after every meal and rinse with ½ tsp of salt and warm water.
  • Place denture back in immediately to allow for proper healing.
  • Place ice if swelling increases
  • Take Motrin 600-800 mg every 6 hours for pain and swelling
  • Call if you have any questions (703-858-9200)

Temporary Crown Treatment

  • Continue with your regular hygiene care of brushing and flossing. The temporary is designed to last several weeks while your permanent crown is being fabricated at the lab.
  • Do NOT floss the temporary crown unless necessary. If you must clean the area, carefully insert floss along the tooth and drag it out to the side. Do NOT floss up and down – this will loosen the temporary crown.
  • AVOID sticky foods and snacks: gum, taffy, thick crusty bread (such as bagels), etc. Avoid biting hard foods and nuts directly on the temporary.
  • If your temporary crown should come off before your next scheduled appointment (to have your permanent replaced), call the office ASAP (703-858-9200) to have it re-cemented. If you are unable to get in to the office, you may place Fixodent denture adhesive in the temporary and bite down firmly to set. If the temporary stays off for an extended period or does not seat down fully to the gum line, your permanent crown will not fit properly.

Post-extraction care

  • Some bleeding following oral surgery is to be expected. To control bleeding, place a sterile gauze or teabag over the area and maintain pressure for 30 minutes. Repeat if bleeding continues.
  • Do not drink with a straw or create suction in your mouth for 24 hours. Doing so may disrupt the blood clot formation necessary for proper healing.
  • Do not rinse your mouth following oral surgery until bleeding stops. Rinsing, however, is extremely important. It keeps the area clean, helps prevent infection, and promotes healing. Starting tomorrow, rinse after eating and several times between meals for 5 days. We suggest the use of warm salt water for your rinses (1/2 tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of lukewarm water).
  • Absolutely no smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages for 24 hours. This will decrease the risk of post-operative bleeding or infections.
  • We encourage you to have cold fluids as soon as possible following surgery. Avoid hot liquids for the first 48 hours. A soft diet should be maintained for the next 2 days. Recommended foods are ice cream, yogurt, Jell-o, pudding, applesauce, pasta dishes, or blenderized meats and vegetables.
  • In an emergency, such as excessive bleeding or high fever, please call the office immediately.
  • If you have any pain, take 2 Tylenol tablets, or an equivalent, every 4 hours. If a pain medication was prescribed, take it as needed. Taking pain medication on an empty stomach may induce nausea and vomiting. We recommend taking fluids, preferably milk, prior to using any pain medication.
  • Small, sharp bone fragments may work up through the gums during healing. These are not roots. If annoying, return to the office for their removal.
  • To help prevent swelling and bleeding, keep your head elevated by using extra pillows for 2-3 days following surgery. It is best not to lie down flat. Should swelling occur, use an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, for 3 cycles.