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Current Patients

Post-Operative Instructions

Once your oral surgery is completed, follow these procedures to make yourself more comfortable, promote healing, and help prevent any possible complications. 


FIRST HALF HOUR:  Make sure the gauze remains in place.  Do not touch it with your tongue or fingers.


WHEN YOU GET HOME:  Wash hands thoroughly and change gauze.  Apply an ice bag or cold towel to your cheek or jaw - 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off until bedtime. Continue in the morning until 48 hours after surgery.


24 HOURS AFTER SURGERY:  Dissolve exactly one level teaspoonful of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm (not hot) water. Allow water to remain in your mouth, but do not rinse or spit vigorously because this may dislodge the blood clot and possible delay healing.  Use the entire glass of solution for rinsing.  If wound is in the lower jaw, tilt your head back and to the side. If in the upper jaw, use gentle force and hold it for at least 30 seconds.  Rinse three times a day for five days.  It is important to use the precise salt solution described above because this corresponds to the normal saline content of your saliva and promotes cleansing and healing.  Rinsing flushes away food particles which may be lodged around the surgery site. 


FIRST 2 TO 3 DAYS:  Rest as much as possible.  Lie down with your head elevated by one or two pillows. 


NAUSEA:  Drink a carbonated drink, such as ginger ale every hour for five or six hours, or a pinch of salt with bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water.  Then drink mild tea, clear broth and have soft foods before resuming your regular diet. 


OOZING:  A little bleeding or oozing is normal.  If bleeding continues after you have removed the gauze, it can be controlled by simple pressure.  Apply a roll of gauze or cotton about one inch thick, or large enough so you can apply light pressure when the mouth is closed.  Change gauze to wound area when saturated until bleeding stops.


PERSISTENT BLEEDING:  Do not spit.  Soak a small cotton ball in strong tea and place it firmly on the bleeding area.  On top of this place a gauze pad or another cotton ball and apply pressure by bringing the teeth together.  Or simply bite on a moistened tea bag for 20 minutes.  Apply an ice bag or cold towel compress to the cheek and lie down with your head elevated on three pillows.  


SWELLING:  On the 4th or 5th day if there is swelling or jaw stiffness, apply heat to the outside of your face using a warm, moist dressing.  If you use a hot water bottle or heating pad, first coat the skin with petroleum jelly.  Then put a thin towel over the area and apply heat.  Do not use heat continuously - only 20 minutes out of every hour.


SHARP BONY EDGES:  If you feel something hard when you place your tongue on the surgical site, you may think it is part of your tooth.  This is the hard, bony wall which originally supported the tooth.  Leave it alone and it will heal nicely.


DIET:  A nutritionally balanced diet is very important.  During the first 24 hours have soups and soft foods which are easily chewed and swallowed.  Meats, vegetables, and fresh fruit can be liquefied in a blender.  Gradually progress to solid food.  Don't skip meals.  If you take nourishment regularly, you'll feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.  Take any prescribed food supplement as directed.  If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal diet and take medication as usual.

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