Here at Paradigm Dental in Bee Cave, Austin TX, we consider the removal of impacted teeth a surgical procedure and post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully after tooth extraction at our Austin TX dental office.
Immediately Following Surgery
- The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half-hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
- Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
- Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic becoming diminished.
- Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
- Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for explanation.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not sit upright become excited or agitated. Please be sure to avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face are not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Two baggies filled with ice or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake. After 36 hours, ice has a little beneficial effect and can be replaced with the application of moist heat to the sides of the face. This is generally beneficial in reducing the swelling and increasing the range of motion of your jaws.
For moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every three to four hours or Ibuprofen, (Motrin or Advil) three 200 mg tablets may be taken every 6 hours.
For severe pain, take the tablets prescribed as directed. The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.
After general anesthetic or I.V. anesthesia, liquids should be initially taken. Drink from a glass. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites. High calorie, high protein intake is very important. Refer to the section on suggested diet instructions at the end of the brochure. Nourishment should be taken regularly. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. Your food intake will be limited for the first few days. You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake. At least 5-6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss a single meal. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you continue to eat. Caution: If you suddenly sit up or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy. If you are lying down following surgery, make sure you sit for one minute before standing.
Keep the mouth clean
No rinsing should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day especially after eating with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows surgery. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help treat or prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.
Nausea and Vomiting
In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour including the prescribed medicine. You should then sip on coke, tea, or ginger ale. You should sip slowly over a fifteen-minute period. When nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.
- If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs there is no cause for alarm. As stated before surgery, this is usually temporary in nature. You should be aware that if your lip or tongue is numb, you could bite it and not feel the sensation. So be careful. Call us if you have any questions.
- Slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. If the temperature persists, notify the office. Tylenol or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever.
- You should be careful going from the lying-down position to standing. You were not able to eat or drink prior to surgery. It was also difficult to take fluids. Taking pain medications can make you dizzy. You could get light-headed when you stand up suddenly. Before standing up, you should sit for one minute then get up.
- Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots, they are the bony walls that supported the tooth or teeth. These projections usually smooth out spontaneously. If not, they can be removed by the doctor.
- If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as Vaseline.
- Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in 2-3 days.
- Stiffness (Trismus) of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.
- Sutures are placed on the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help to heal. Sometimes they become dislodged; this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. Most sutures will dissolve on their own and do not require removal. If necessary, the removal of sutures takes just a moment and requires no anesthesia or needles. There is no discomfort associated with this procedure.
- The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur please call our office for instructions.
- There will be a socket or a cavity where the tooth was removed. The area will gradually fill in with the new tissue over the next month. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean especially after meals with salt water rinses or a toothbrush.
- Your case is individual, no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Discuss your problem with the person best able to effectively help you: your dentist.
- Brushing your teeth is okay – just be gentle or avoid the surgical sites.
- A dry socket maybe when the blood clot gets dislodged prematurely from the walls of the tooth socket. Symptoms of severe and/or throbbing pain at the surgical site 3-4 days following surgery, that does not respond to pain medication, can indicate a dry socket. Call the office if this occurs.
- If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get lightheaded, stop exercising.
We enjoy being able to provide the best dental care possible to the people of Bee Cave, Lakeway, and other surrounding Lake Travis areas! If you have any questions, feel free to call and schedule an appointment today (512) 992-2822. Paradigm Dental Austin TX is here to take care of all your dental needs.