A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following the extraction of teeth. Slight oozing or blood-tinged saliva is not uncommon for the first 12 to 24 hours. Excessive or continued bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth and then placing a new, moist gauze pad over the problematic area with firm biting pressure for an additional hour and repeating as necessary. If bleeding continues, you may bite on a moistened tea bag in the same manner. Tannic acid in tea helps blood to clot. If bleeding does not subside, please call the office for further instructions. If an immediate denture was placed after your teeth were extracted, expect some oozing from around the sides of the denture. Do not remove an immediate denture for the first 24 hours after the procedure unless bleeding is severe.
Swelling is normally expected after most surgical procedures and is usually proportional to the extent of surgery performed. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal and healthy reaction to surgery. Most swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 48 to 72 hours post-operatively. However, swelling and discomfort may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Ice packs should be applied to the outside of the face over the area where surgery was performed for the first 24 to 48 hours. Ice packs should be left on for 30 minutes and then left off for 30 minutes while awake. After 48 hours ice has no beneficial effect. Instead, the application of heat may be helpful in reducing the size of swelling more quickly. On occasion, some residual swelling may last a week or longer.
Take the prescribed pain medication before you begin to feel discomfort. This usually coincides with the start of the local anesthetic wearing off. Taking pain medication on an empty stomach may cause nausea, so it is recommended to take the pills with food or drink. Pain medication may make you groggy and slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery while medicated. It is also best to avoid alcoholic beverages. Aspirin or other over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) may be used when appropriate. Discomfort following surgery may increase on the second or third day following the procedure and then should improve each day thereafter. If pain persists or worsens after four (4) days, please notify the office as it may require attention.
In some cases bruising of the skin may follow swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood oozing and spreading beneath the tissues of the mouth and face. This is a normal post-operative occurrence that may occur two to three days after the procedure and take one to two weeks to gradually fade away.
Continuing to eat a nutritionally balanced diet is essential for feeling better, regaining strength, experiencing less discomfort, and more rapid healing after surgery. Try not to miss a single meal. It’s understandable that your food intake will be limited for the first few days after your procedure. It is best to wait until after the local anesthetic has completely worn off before beginning to eat. Start with plenty of fluids (juice, milk, water) during the first 24 hours. At least six to eight glasses (two quarts) of liquid a day will help prevent dehydration. Do not use straws as this may encourage more bleeding by dislodging a blood clot. Do not drink hot fluids or eat hot food the first day. You may eat anything soft and cool the first day by avoiding the surgical sites. It’s best to progress to more solid foods and return to your normal diet as soon as possible.
Begin gentle, warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) the morning after surgery. Rinsing four to five times a day for several days, especially after meals, will help to gently flush food particles away. Continue to brush any remaining teeth as best you can – remembering to stay away from the surgical sites for several days. If you have an immediate denture, remember to take it out before rinsing. Our doctors may prescribe an antibiotic mouth rise to use in place of salt water. Furthermore, an irrigating syringe may be provided for use starting a week after the procedure.
Antibiotics may be prescribed for certain patients after a surgical procedure to help prevent or cure an infection. If you have been placed on an antibiotic, take the tablets or liquid as directed until gone. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or any other unfavorable reaction and notify our office immediately.
GOOD THINGS TO KNOW
Please notify the office if you have:
1. Increased pain after four days.
2. Increased swelling after the third day.
3. An elevated temperature or fever after two days.
4. Excessive or uncontrollable bleeding.
5. A bad reaction to any of your medications.
6. Any questions or concerns.