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Surgery Instructions       

Correct dental care and instructions before and after oral surgery (extractions of the  teeth) may contribute to the patient's health and well-being.

Key Benefits

  • 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

Pre-surgical Instructions

1. Alcohol Restrictions
Alcohol should be discontinued  before and following the surgical procedure.
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 made.
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.

Post-surgical Care

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 bleeding.
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 site.
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 bleeding.
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 recommended.
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 comfortable.
D. Heat is not used for swelling.
8. Bruising
A. You may experience some mild bruising in the area of your surgery.
       B. This is a normal response in some persons and should not be cause for alarm.
       C. It will disappear in 7-14 days.
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 removal.   
10. Call the Dentist or a Hospital Emergency Room if:
A. You experience discomfort you cannot control with your pain pills.
B. You have bleeding that you cannot control by biting on gauze.
C. You have increased swelling after the third day following surgery.
D. You have a fever.
E. You have any questions.


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