Home Care Instructions
Our goal is to make sure your surgery is comfortable and stress-free. The instructions we provide you will help to ensure your safety and smooth recovery. Please call us at Charleston Office Phone Number 843-554-5003 if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do to help improve your experience!
IMMEDIATELY POST SURGERY/SEDATION
GAUZE AND BLEEDING
PLEASE DO NOT SLEEP, EAT, or DRINK WITH GAUZE IN YOUR MOUTH as it can lead to choking. Leave the gauze in your mouth for 1 hour after you leave the office to allow enough time for clots to form. After 1 hour, gauze may be removed and replaced with a fresh moist piece if there is still bleeding. Gauze may be moistened using water. Please see the next page for dealing with bleeding.
DRINKING AND MEDICATIONS
After 1 hour, you may begin to drink cold/room temperature liquids and take any pain medication and antibiotics, as prescribed by your doctor. Please avoid using a straw. Make sure to avoid hot beverages. This will help with healing and limit swelling and bleeding. If you are still drowsy, do not drink until you are more alert. Make sure to take small sips to avoid choking.
We know you are hungry! After your procedure, you will find that you are numb. Please make sure to avoid eating until you no longer feel numbness to avoid accidentally damaging your surgical sites or biting your tongue, cheeks or lips. Even if the procedure was very minor, please wait until the numbness has worn off. This can take 2-8 hours depending on your body. Please see “DIET” in the next section for further details.
THE FIRST 3 HOURS AFTER SURGERY & SEDATION
This is the critical period in your recovery where most accidents happen such as choking, vomiting, suffocating. Make sure you have someone who is able to be with you to observe you closely. We recommend you have a guardian or escort with you in the same room for at least 90% of the time during the first 3 hours of recovery. Your escort will need to be able to see and hear you to make sure you are not experiencing any complications.
You may be feeling sleepy after your procedure. This is normal as you recover from your sedation. It is best to rest/sleep sitting up on a couch or comfortable chair where your escort can easily see your face and ensure you are breathing. Laying down in bed can be dangerous as blankets and sheets may block your airway while you sleep. PLEASE DO NOT SLEEP WITH GAUZE IN YOUR MOUTH.
4-6 HOURS AFTER SURGERY & SEDATION
Most people will usually start to feel more alert at this point, however you are still legally sedated for 24 hours after your surgery. You should have someone in the same house as you that can check on you every 30 minutes to make sure you are recovering well. If you feel tired, it is ok for you to sleep while laying down at this point. Please make sure you do not have any gauze in your mouth while sleeping.
- PLEASE DO NOT disturb the surgical area with vigorous rinsing or any objects like your finger, tooth brush etc. It can damage the site, prevent healing and cause infection.
- PLEASE DO NOT smoke for at least 1 week. It weakens your immune system and can cause infections and dry socket.
- PLEASE DO NOT apply heat to your face, it will increase swelling and bleeding.
You may notice bleeding or blood-tinged saliva for the first 24 to 72 hours. If you experience bleeding, please place a piece of moist folded gauze over the surgical sites and bite down firmly for 60 minutes. Do not take the gauze out of your mouth to check if it is working. Every time the gauze is removed it can disrupt the clot and cause bleeding to start again. After 60 minutes you can remove the gauze and check. If the bleeding continues please replace the gauze with a fresh piece. If bleeding still continues, moisten a black tea bag and roll into a fresh piece of gauze. Apply to surgical site and bite down for an additional 1 to 2 hours. Please be sure to use a black tea variety as there is tannic acid in black tea which can help blood to clot. If you have trouble stopping the bleeding, please do not hesitate to call our office at any time.
Swelling is the body’s normal response to surgery and the beginning of the healing process. Swelling will peak in the first 2-3 days after surgery and usually go down after a week. You may experience different amounts of swelling in some areas of your mouth and face, but this is normal. To reduce swelling, apply cold packs (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) for the first 24 hours while awake. Keep your head elevated for the first 72 hours using pillows under the back and head while sleeping. Cold food such as popsicles and ice cream can be helpful for swelling and comfort. PLEASE DO NOT apply heat to your face it will increase your swelling.
Nausea is not uncommon after anesthesia and it can also be caused by pain medication. Nausea may be reduced by taking medication with food. If you experience nausea or vomiting, try taking clear fluids and minimize use of narcotic pain medication.
PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. Medication has been prescribed to reduce your anticipated level of pain and discomfort.
Begin taking your pain medication before the numbness from your surgery wears off. It is easier to stay ahead of the pain then to get rid of it. Repeat as needed according to the schedule printed on your prescription bottle. Please take medication with food.
NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION
In some cases, narcotic pain medication is prescribed to help manage your discomfort after surgery. While narcotic pain medications can be very helpful when used carefully and for a short period of time, there are significant risks associated with their use, such as addiction and death.
- Please do not drive, operate hazardous machinery or drink alcohol while taking the narcotic medications as they can impair your judgement and reaction time.
- Please do not share your pain medication with anyone.
- Please do not combine your pain medication with other medications other than those your doctor has discussed with you.
- Please do not take your pain medication more than prescribed. It can be dangerous to your health and life threatening. We will not refill prescriptions for pain medication that has been taken faster than prescribed.
- Please manage your supply of pain medication. We do not refill narcotic prescriptions after hours, or on evenings and weekends. We do not refill narcotic prescriptions without a follow up visit to our office.
- Narcotics are a carefully controlled substance and our office is committed to responsible use. We thank you for understanding and supporting our efforts.
The skin around your eyes, cheeks and neck may bruise after surgery. This increases as we age and in people taking aspirin or other blood thinners. Bruising will gradually disappear and is generally no cause for alarm. Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.
BRUSHING YOUR TEETH
PLEASE DO NOT brush your teeth for 24 hours after surgery. Once you resume brushing your teeth, PLEASE DO NOT brush the areas where surgery has been performed. PLEASE DO NOT use a toothpick, waterpick or syringe to disturb the surgical sites/sockets. This will break down the clots leading to bleeding and infection.
PLEASE DO NOT rinse your mouth for 24 hours after surgery. After 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water 3 to 4 times daily, especially after you eat, until all surgical sites are healed. Salt water can be made at home with 1-2 tablespoons of table salt in a large glass of lukewarm water. If your doctor has prescribed an antibacterial mouth rinse, please use this morning and night.
Please stick to foods that are soft and cold/room temperature for at least 48-72 hours. Avoid foods that are chewy, crunchy, spicy or hot. Avoid foods like nuts, seeds, popcorn and grits as they can get stuck in your surgical sites. Suggested foods include popsicles, ice cream, eggs, noodles, and mashed potatoes, etc. Blended food such as milk shakes and smoothies are great but please avoid using a straw. Please drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
SHARP EDGES/SORE SPOTS
If you feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with your tongue, you are most likely feeling the bony walls that originally supported the teeth. Occasionally, small pieces of bone may work themselves out in the first several weeks after surgery. This is a normal but unpredictable part of surgery. These are usually not pieces of tooth and will go away on their own. However, if you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Some surgeries require sutures. They will usually feel tight to begin with and then loosen over time as the swelling decreases. Many sutures dissolve on their own within several days to weeks. We will let you know if your sutures are dissolvable or need to be removed. PLEASE DO NOT pick at your sutures or try to remove them yourself as you could disrupt the healing at your surgical site. Contact our office if you have any questions as we are here to help.
Please refer to your Post-Operative Instructions for personalized care instructions.