Care Instructions following Tooth Removal
- Numbness: Your mouth will be numb for several hours following an extraction. Please refrain from eating until you can feel your lip and tongue. If you must have something to eat while numb, please have yogurt or a milkshake/smoothie with a spoon, not a straw. Soft foods are best following an extraction; avoid spicy or crunchy food or food likely to get stuck in the extraction site.
- Some bleeding is normal and desirable after surgery. We have provided sterile gauze for your convenience until bleeding stops. Firm biting pressure for the first 45 minutes after your surgery will aid in stable clot formation. You will help achieve a healthy clot by avoiding activities that cause “back pressure” such as smoking, using a straw, sucking on the extraction site, etc. Oozing may continue for several hours, intermittently for 2-3 days and should not be cause for concern. Remember there is a difference between bleeding and hemorrhage. If there was no hemorrhage during surgery it will not hemorrhage afterwards. A moist teabag placed at the bleeding site for 5 minutes will usually stop excessive bleeding if it occurs.
- Swelling is a normal post surgical response. Swelling and its associated discomfort can be reduced by applying ice packs to the side of your face for the first 2-3 hours. Alternate with 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Do not apply heat for the first 24 hours. Delayed onset of swelling (i.e. after two days) may indicate infection and should warrant a call to our office.
- Depending on your situation, medication may have been prescribed to help control pain or infection. Some post operative discomfort is unavoidable. Prescription pain medications do not stop pain; they help you manage pain. Understanding this fact will help you through the “peak” period which occurs usually 2-4 hours after the surgical procedure. This period starts when the anesthetic starts to “wear-off” and will peak and subside over a period of about 2-3 hours. This is the most critical time for pain management. After this period you may continue to have some discomfort or soreness but not intense pain. You can help your self by making yourself as quiet, still and relaxed as possible. Soreness may last from one to several days depending on the extent of your surgery. Take prescription medications only as instructed on the label and avoid alcohol if taking prescription pain medication. Do not drive if you have been given a prescription pain medicine.
- Continue to brush and floss as well as possible; a little bleeding should be expected. Gentle salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 pint water) beginning the day after surgery will be helpful.
- Maintain a nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids. Ensure and Boost drinks are helpful if you feel unable to chew properly.
- Sutures are sometimes placed to aid healing. Silk sutures will not dissolve and should be removed as scheduled by our office. “Gut” sutures are also used; these dissolve and do not need to be removed. Please be sure to ask which sutures are being used before scheduling your next visit 4-10 days after your procedure.
- If you experience prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call us.
- If you are a smoker, avoid smoking for as long as possible, at least 24 hours. We hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to call us if you have further questions.
- Please call us at 919-286-4481 if you have any questions.