Things to Know Before Surgery
Immediately Following Surgery
Keep the gauze pad in place for a half hour after surgery. This helps the blood to clot so that the bleeding stops. After a half hour remove and discard the gauze pad.
Avoid anything that could dislodge the blood clot that forms. Excessive mouth rinsing, and touching the wound area with your fingers or tongue could initiate bleeding.
Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic wearing off.
Restrict you activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
Place ice packs around your face and jaw where surgery was performed to reduce swelling.
Caution: If you suddenly sit up or stand from lying position, you may become dizzy. Be careful.
Bleeding is to be expected following surgery. If you have excessive bleeding rinse your mouth to remove old clots, and reform the clot/s by biting down on a gauze pad for 30 minutes.
If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. Also, sit upright and avoid exercise.
If bleeding does not subside, call us at (415) 285-0526.
2. Swelling & Discoloration
The level of swelling is usually proportional to the surgery performed. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face are common. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery. The swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and may not reach its maximum until two or three days after surgery. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Keep the ice packs on as much as possible in the first 36 hours after surgery while you are awake.
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal postoperative occurrence, which may occur two to three days after surgery. Moist heat applied to the area may clear up discoloration more quickly.
For moderate pain, take one or two tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol) every three to four hours. Alternatively, take two to three 200 mg of ibuprofen tablets (Motrin or Advil) every six to eight hours.
For severe pain, take the medication prescribed as directed. The prescribed pain medicine may 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 gradually each day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.
Warning: Several medications regularly prescribed by our office such as Vicodin, Darvocet, Norco and Tylenol #3 contain acetaminophen. Do not exceed the dose prescribed by Dr. Luque. In addition, do not mix these prescription medications with any other over-the-counter medications that contain or acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, regular or extra-strength, or multi-symptom formulations for cold or flu. Acetaminophen in excessive amounts can have serious effects on your health.
It’s important to drink sufficient fluids after general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Do not use straws when drinking from a glass. The sucking motion can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot.
You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical site(s). High calorie, high protein intake is important. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you continue to eat.
5. Keep the Mouth Clean
You can gently brush your teeth and rinse the night of surgery but be careful not to dislodge the blood clots. The day after surgery, begin gently rinsing five to six times a day with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt, especially after eating.
If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the medication as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Call the office if you have any unfavorable reaction to the antibiotics.
8. Nausea & Vomiting
Post-operative nausea and vomiting are related to a combination of factors including having an empty stomach, swallowing blood during the procedure and the side effects from medications used during the procedure. Right after surgery try to take milk derived liquids (yogurt, milk shake, etc.) to counteract the acidity in your stomach. Milk products will decrease the risk of developing nausea.
If you do experience nausea and/or vomiting, sip soda or tea to alleviate discomfort. Avoid taking prescribed medication until the nausea subsides.
Other side effects of oral surgery you may experience:
- A sensation of numbness in the lip, chin or tongue is normal. Be careful not to bite your lip or tongue.
- A slight elevation of temperature immediately following surgery is not uncommon. Take Tylenol or ibuprofen to reduce fever, and call the office if the temperature persists.
- Occasionally, patients may feel hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. These projections usually smooth out naturally. If not, they can be removed by Dr. Luque.
- Keep your lips moisturized to reduce cracking.
- Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles in the throat can get swollen from surgery. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in two to three days.
- Stiffness of the jaw muscles (known as trismus) may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is normal and will subside in time.