PAIN MEDICATION – If instructed by your surgeon, you should take over-the-counter Motrin or Advil, 2 tablets every 6 hours continuously for the first two days. The active generic ingredient is ibuprofen and you may find the store brand equally effective and less expensive. Take the first dose immediately and before the local anesthesia has worn off. You may use the prescription medication on top of and in-addition-to the Motrin/Advil tablets as needed.
GAUZE PRESSURE – Bite down firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, make sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first 30 minutes unless the bleeding is heavy. After 30 minutes, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 20 to 30 minutes). It is best to slightly moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning. Bleeding from oral surgery may take 24 hours to fully stop.
PROTECTING THE BLOOD CLOT – Do not rinse, brush, smoke, or drink with a straw for at least 24 hours after your surgery. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic mouthwash, you may begin to use it the day after your procedure.
The chemicals in cigarettes are caustic and will significantly delay healing, increase post-operative pain, swelling, the risk of infection, and dry socket.
ICE PACKS – Swelling is common following oral surgery. Swelling can be minimized by using cold packs, or a bag of frozen peas applied firmly to the cheek nearest to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery. Do not use any ice after the first 24 hours.
If you have been prescribed medicine to minimize swelling, be sure to take it as directed. You should take the first group of pills at bedtime.
AFTER THE FIRST HOUR
PERSISTENT BLEEDING – Mild bleeding or oozing is normal during the first 24 hours. If necessary reposition the gauze packs directly over the surgical site. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in very hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in a moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes. Place an old towel over your pillow, as one drop of blood will turn a mouth full of saliva red. It is completely normal to experience mild oozing of blood from the surgical area for a full 24 hrs.
MANAGING POST-OPERATIVE PAIN – To best manage your discomfort, you should take the first pill before the numbness has worn off. To minimize swelling, take the first group of prescribed pills at bedtime. If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office.
POST-OP DAY #2 AND BEYOND
ORAL HYGIENE – Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. In addition to any prescription, mouthwashes you may have been given, use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Rinse 2-3 times a day. Avoid commercial mouthwashes, the alcohol they contain may irritate the surgical site. Avoid brushing the surgical area for at least two weeks. However, we do encourage you to brush and floss all other areas.
HEALING – Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first three days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the 4th day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more normal diet. The remainder of the postoperative course should be a gradual, steady improvement. If you do not see continued improvement, please call our office.
DRY SOCKET – A dry socket is a painful condition that results from the premature loss of the blood clot. Symptoms of a dry socket typically occur on the 3rd or 4th postoperative day. Severe throbbing pain, which is not responsive to pain medications and bad breath, are the usual complaints. This condition requires an office visit where your surgeon will gently place a medicated dressing into the tooth socket. Pain relief is often immediate once the site is treated. A few visits may be necessary in some cases.
SHARP EDGES/SUTURES – If you feel something hard or sharp edges around the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls, which once supported the extracted teeth or the ends of the sutures. Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following weeks. This is normal but if they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office. Dissolvable stitches begin to melt away as you heal. Loose ends may be cut short with clean sharp scissors or gently pulled.
Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call Dr. Shin’s Office at (415)986-6900. Calling during office hours will result in a faster response to your question or concern.
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San Francisco, CA 94108
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