Minor Oral Surgery

Oral care is important every day, and particularly so after having undergone oral surgery.

Always follow the advice given to you by your dentist or oral surgeon, and should you experience any of the following issues after oral surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately:

  • Excessive bleeding that persists four hours or more following surgery
  • Prolonged pain for a day or more following oral surgery.
  • Increased swelling for two days or more following oral surgery
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Pain

After receiving a local anesthetic that freezes the area of your mouth on which surgery will take place, try not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue while frozen to avoid injury.

Freezing will wear off a few hours following surgery, after which it’s normal to experience some pain or discomfort. The level of discomfort will depend on the type of surgery underwent, as well as your body’s ability to recover.

You are likely to experience the most pain during the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after surgery. Try to rest during this time.

Some soreness, tenderness or discomfort may linger for a few days afterward around the area in your mouth where the surgery took place – this is normal.

What to do:

  • Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon. He/she may prescribe medication to help with the pain and an antibiotic to stave off infection.
  • Call your dentist or oral surgeon if the pain persists for a prolonged period of time, or worsens.
  • Follow the advice of your dentist or oral surgeon, as well as your pharmacist when taking prescribed medication.

What not to do:

  • Do not take more medicine than prescribed.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking medication.
  • Do not drive a vehicle or operate machinery if you are on medication that could cause drowsiness or alter your awareness in any way.

Bleeding

Following surgery, a gauze pad will be placed in your mouth to reduce bleeding and encourage the blood to clot.

The gauze should be left in place for an hour following surgery. It’s okay to hold the pad firmly in place using your teeth, but refrain from chewing on it.

It is normal for bleeding to continue an hour or two following surgery, after which the area may continue to “ooze” for up to twenty-four hours. If you re unable to control the bleeding after four or more hours however, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

What to do:

  • Keep firm, constant pressure on the gauze pad covering the wound – this can be done by closing your teeth on the pad.
  • Leave the pad in place for at least an hour following oral surgery.
  • If bleeding persists past an hour, replace the used gauze pad with a fresh one and reaffirm pressure on the area for another hour.
  • Rest while recovering and keep your head raised as it slows the circulation of blood to the area that is healing, allowing the blood to clot.
  • Brush and floss teeth as usual, but be gentle and take care to avoid the site of the surgery so as not to aggravate it and possibly reignite bleeding. Also use a minimal amount of water.
  • A full day following surgery, gently rinse your mouth with warm water. You dentist or oral surgeon may also suggest you add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water each time you rinse. Do this four to five times a day for three to four days. This helps keep the wounded area clean and free of infection.
  • If bleeding persists beyond four hours, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

What not to do:

  • Do not rinse your mouth within the first twenty-four hours following surgery.
  • Do not chew on the gauze pad or suck on the wound.
  • Avoid hot liquids such as coffee, tea or soup as they tend to increase blood circulation and could restart the bleeding.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco for at least the first two weeks following surgery. They delay the healing process and leave you more susceptible to infection.
  • Do not strain yourself for at least two full days following surgery.
  • Do not drive a vehicle or operate machinery if you are on medication that could cause drowsiness or alter your awareness in any way.

Swelling

Swelling in the mouth and face up to twenty-four hours following oral surgery is common. In some cases, swelling may even last five to seven days and you may experience bruising up to ten days followingthe procedure.

What to do:

  • Place a cold compress on the swollen area. Hold the compress in position for ten minutes then remove the compress for ten minutes. Repeat.
  • Continue this process for the first twenty-four hours following surgery.
  • No sooner than the second day, place a warm compress on the affected area to increase blood flow and help decrease swelling. Take care not to use anything hot enough to burn your skin.
  • If the swelling worsens beyond forty-eight hours following surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon. Do the same if swelling does not subside after seven days.

What not to do:

  • Do not apply heat to the affected area during the first twenty-four hours following surgery as this will worsen the swelling.

Sore jaw

Depending on the type of procedure performed, you may find it difficult to manoeuver your jaw for up to ten days after your oral surgery.  

What to do:

  • If the muscles of your jaw are not overly tender, massage them gently with a warm, moist facecloth.
  • Eat foods that are easy to chew or consume such, such as shakes.
  • If you have difficulty opening and closing your jaw, or the muscles of your jaw are still sore seven to ten days following surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

What not to do:

  • Do not force your mouth open.
  • Avoid chewing gum and eating hard or chewy foods.
  • Avoid hot liquids such as coffee, tea or soup.

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