The gauze pack(s) that have been placed over the extraction site(s) should be kept in place for an hour. After this time, the gauze pack(s) should be removed and discarded. The gauze pack(s) will need to be replaced only if you see a flow of blood coming from the extraction site(s). To replace the gauze pack(s), take two pieces of gauze, fold in half, and moisten with water so they are damp, and fold in half again. Place the gauze pack(s) directly over the extraction site(s) and apply pressure for 30-60 minutes.
You will want to take your pain medication before the local anesthesia wears off, usually within a couple of hours. Always try to eat or drink something before taking any medication. Please try an over-the-counter pain reliever first. If additional pain control is needed, you may supplement with a narcotic pain medication if prescribed. Wait three hours after taking the over-the-counter medication before taking the narcotic. It is important to stagger the doses, so you are not taking them both at the same time. Narcotic pain medications will make you sleepy and slow down your reflexes. Avoid alcoholic beverages and do not drive or operate machinery if you are taking a narcotic. As pain subsides during recovery, you may discontinue the prescribed pain medication and take an over-the-counter pain medication as needed.
If an antibiotic is prescribed, you may begin taking it at dinner or in the evening. Take as directed until gone. Do not take all medications at the same time as this could cause an upset stomach.
If you were sedated, we recommend starting your post-operative diet with clear liquids (water, fruit juice, 7-Up, Jell-O, broth). Drink from a glass and avoid using a straw for 24 hours. The sucking action can cause more bleeding by dislodging the blood clot and can prevent proper healing. You may gradually introduce soft foods (applesauce, soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, pasta) if you are tolerating liquids well and feeling has returned to your lips and tongue. Avoid the extraction site(s) when chewing. We do not recommend dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream, or milkshakes on the day of surgery, as nausea and vomiting may develop in conjunction with the anesthetic and pain medication.
If you were not sedated, you may begin eating soft foods when feeling returns to lips and tongue. Do not use a straw for 24 hours and avoid extraction site(s) when chewing. Advance to other foods as you feel comfortable. Avoid hard, crunchy foods for a few days.
Ice and Swelling
To minimize swelling, place ice packs to the side(s) of your face where surgery was performed, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, as able for the first two days. Elevating your head on a couple of pillows when lying down will also help to minimize swelling. Swelling may increase up to three days following surgery.
Oral cleanliness is essential to good healing. Begin rinsing 24 hours after surgery using a solution of one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Rinse the area after eating and before bed for the next week. Continue the rinses for two more weeks using plain tap water. You may begin brushing your teeth the same day of surgery avoiding the extractions sites, remembering not to rinse or spit vigorously.
Do not smoke for five to seven days following surgery. Smoking greatly increases the risk of infection and an inflammatory and painful condition commonly referred to as a dry socket.
Stitches are dissoluble and will become loose and fall out as early as three days after surgery.
After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities.