Correct dental care and instructions before and after oral surgery
(extractions of the teeth) may contribute to the patient's health and
- Benefit 1 -- Make post-surgical infection less likely or less severe
- Benefit 2 -- Reduce local bleeding at the time of the surgery and after
- Benefit 3 -- Promote post-surgical healing
- 1. Alcohol Restrictions
- Alcohol should be discontinued before and following the surgical
- 2. Transport to and from the Appointment
- When a general anesthetic or light sedation is used, the patient should
not drive. Plans for someone to accompany and assist the patient should be
- 3. The Night Before the Appointment
- A good night rest is advocated.
- 4. Personal Items
- The clothing worn should be loose and comfortable. The sleeves should be
easily drawn up over the elbows.
- 5. Contact Lenses and Dentures
- The patient will be asked to remove contact lenses and dentures, and
should bring containers for their safe keeping.
- 1. Control Bleeding
- A. Bite firmly the gauze pack over the surgical area for,
at least, 1/2 hour; then
discard it gently.
- B. Some blood will ooze from the area of surgery for several
hours and it is normal.
- C. Do not spit, or suck through a straw, since this will promote
- D. When bleeding persists at home, place a gauze pad or cold wet
teabag over the area and bite firmly for 30 minutes.
- E. Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue.
- F. Keep your head elevated on several pillows or sit in a lounge
chair for 12 hours.
- G. DO NOT SMOKE for 24 hours after surgery because this will
cause bleeding, pain and interfere with healing.
- 2. Rinsing
- A. Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for the first 12
hours after the surgical appointment. Then use
warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt in 1/2 cup [4 ounces] of warm water)
after tooth-brushing and every 2 hours.
- 3. Bacterial Plaque Control
- A. Brush the teeth gently.
- B. Avoid the surgical
- 4. Rest
- Get plenty of rest; at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Avoid
strenuous exercise during the first 24 hours, and keep the mouth from
excessive movement. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- 5. Diet
- A. Use a liquid or soft diet high in protein.
- B. Drink a large volume of water and fruit juices.
- C. Do not drink through a straw because this may promote
- D. Avoid hot food for the first 24 hours after surgery because
this may promote bleeding.
- E. Eat a soft diet for the first 24 hours after surgery.
- F. Avoid foods that require excessive chewing.
- G. You can resume a normal diet
the day after surgery.
- 6. Pain and Discomfort
- A. Some discomfort is normal after surgery. It can be
controlled by taking the pain medication your dentist has prescribed or
- B. Start taking your pain pills before the numbing
medication has worn off.
- C. Take your pain pill with an 8
oz. glass of water and/or a small amount of
food to prevent nausea.
- 7. Swelling and Icepacks
- A. Swelling after surgery is a normal body reaction.
- B. Swelling reaches its maximum about 48 hours
after surgery, and usually lasts 4-6 days.
- C. Applying ice packs over the area for the first 24 hours ( no
longer than 20 minutes at a time) helps control swelling and may you more
- D. Heat is not used for
- 8. Bruising
- A. You may experience some mild bruising in the area of your
- B. This is a normal response
in some persons and should not be cause for alarm.
- C. It will disappear in 7-14
- 9. Sutures or Stitches
- A. If stitches were
placed in area of your surgery, your dentist will tell you if and when they
need to be removed (usually in about 1 week).
- B. Many times stitches are
used which are self-dissolving (7-10 days) and do not require
- 10. Call the Dentist or a Hospital Emergency Room if:
- A. You experience discomfort you cannot control with your
- B. You have bleeding that you cannot control by biting on
- C. You have increased swelling after the third day following
- D. You have a fever.
- E. You have any questions.