Frequently Asked Questions
HOW LONG SHOULD I KEEP THE GAUZE PACK IN MY MOUTH?
Do not change the gauze for the first hour after surgery unless the bleeding is not controlled. Intermittent bleeding is normal. If active bleeding persists after 1 hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the site for 30 to 60 minutes. The gauze may be changed as necessary, and may be dampened and folded into a small square.
MY MOUTH IS BLEEDING STEADILY. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between your teeth rather than exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning fresh dampened packs. If he bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed damp-dry) for 45 to 60 minutes. If the bleeding still remains uncontrolled, please call us.
I AM STILL HAVING PAIN. CAN YOU HELP ME?
Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of pain and discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication, and if you take the pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you will be able to manage any further pain better. Effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. Remember that the most severe pain is usually within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic has worn off. After that, your need for pain medicine should lesson.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO KEEP THE SWELLING DOWN?
After you return home from surgery, apply ice wrapped in a washcloth for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 12 to 24 hours Swelling may peak in a 2 to 3 day period following oral surgery.
I FEEL SICK TO MY STOMACH! WHAT’S WRONG?
Nausea is not uncommon after surgery. In fact, it is sometimes caused by stronger pain medicines. Nausea may be reduced by drinking 8 oz. of a clear liquid or eating a small amount of soft food such as pudding, apple sauce, jello, or warm cooked cereal. Do this just before you take your pain medication. Continue to drink large quantities of clear liquid. Please call us if you do not feel better.
IT HURTS TO EAT FOOD. I’VE LOST MY APPETITE. HOW LONG CAN I GO WITHOUT EATING?
It is important not to skip meals! Eating on a regular basis will make you feel better, gain strength, experience less pain, and heal faster! Avoid extremely hot foods. We recommend on your first day after surgery, you stick to bland liquids or pureed foods such as creamed soups, puddings, yogurt, and milk shakes. Take care to avoid foods such as nuts, sunflower seeds, and popcorn. These types of foods can get caught in socket areas. Also avoid the use of straws. Over the next several days, you can move from softer foods to more solid food choices.
ONE OF MY STITCHES CAME OUT. IS THAT A PROBLEM?
The stitches applied to the surgical area will break down and normally dissolve between 3 to 7 days, or even longer. Do not become alarmed when you stitches come out. This is normal.
WHEN I LOOK BACK IN MY MOUTH, I SEE A HOLE WHERE THE TOOTH WAS REMOVED. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
No. This is normal. As the wound heals over the next several days, the hole will close over with tissue. It is all part of the healing process.
MY JAW IS THROBBING WITH PAIN! THE PAIN IS SO INTENSE THAT IT FEELS LIKE EVEN MY OTHER TEETH HURT! WHAT’S WRONG??
You may have what we call a “dry socket.” A dry socket is caused by the loss of the blood clot from the socket, which may occur on the 3rd to 5th day after surgery. Only a small percentage of our patients develop dry sockets. If this should happen to you, please call us.
CAN I BRUSH MY TEETH RIGHT AWAY AFTER SURGERY?
You may start brushing your teeth as soon as possible the day after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to keep your teeth clean. However, please do not rinse your mouth on the day of surgery. On the 2nd day, you may rinse gently using 1/4 tsp. of salt with 8 oz. of warm water.
I’M A SMOKER. CAN I STILL SMOKE IF I CUT BACK?
Not for the first 7 to 10 days. Having even just one cigarette can result in creating a “dry socket.”