Following the surgical exposure of an impacted tooth, we will review instructions and what to expect over the next few days while the tissue is healing. In general, our office at Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center recommends:
Exposing an impacted tooth is a surgical procedure, this means that cuts were made to the tissue and for some patients sutures were used. The same day recommendations following surgery include:
- Do Not Disturb the Wound: It is common for patients to want to poke with a finger or tongue the surgical site, especially when they are numb, don’t. This can be a poor decision for a few reasons, it could dislodge the clot, it could shift stitches, it could introduce bacteria in the wound, it is in general not recommended.
- Do Not Use a Straw: This may go against your thinking, many patients assume a straw would be good to bypass the wound when drinking. But, the suction you create in your mouth to drink from a straw can be damaging to your wound.
- Take Prescribed Medication as Directed: If we prescribed medication for pain management or an antibiotic, please take it on time and at the correct dosage.
- Avoid Chewing until Numbing has Worn: You will want to avoid chewing any food while still numb, additionally, you will want to chew only soft foods for a couple of days while healing is occurring.
- Swelling: Some swelling will occur, ice packs can bring some relief. An ice pack can be as simple as a plastic baggie with ice, or some patients prefer just a cool washcloth. We recommend 20 minutes with an ice pack and then 20 minutes without, this may need to be repeated for the first 36 hours. Contact our office if the swelling seems usual or excessive.
- Bleeding: Bleeding can be expected after surgery, and it may continue to ooze blood for the next 24-48 hours. Much of what we think is bleeding is often a little blood and a lot of saliva. Keep the area packed with gauze packed over the area and biting firmly to control bleeding and replace gauze as needed. If bleeding begins again, try sitting upright, avoid any physical activity, use ice packs on the sides of the face where surgery was performed and bite gauze for 1 hour. Some patients have found great success biting down on a moistened tea bag for half an hour. Studies have shown that the tannic acid in tea bags can help the body to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels. If the bleeding seems unusual or excessive, we ask that you seek medical attention immediately and then contact our office.
- Nausea or Vomiting: A patient may feel nauseous or even throw up following surgery. This can be due to medication, or from swallowing blood, or just due to discomfort or nerves. We advise that you take things slowly, lightly sipping on water or flat soda. If nausea continues, try an over the counter pain relief medication instead of the prescribed medication. If nausea continues, contact our office.
By the next day, you should be able to gently rinse your mouth, and even lightly brush your teeth. Gargling salt water has been found to induce healing and remove harmful bacteria, but this shouldn’t be done until at least 24 hours post surgery.
Keep your activity level quieter for a few days, exercise and activity during the postoperative period may result in increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. We recommend avoiding exercise for 3-4 days following your surgery.
If anything seems unusual, or if symptoms of infection are noted including running a temperature, please contact our office or seek medical help. Your health is important. For more information on post-operative instructions or questions about your symptoms, contact our Green Valley or St Rose offices at (702) 270-2999.