Information Concerning Surgical Procedures

In surgical procedures involving the mouth any of the following can occur, all of which are considered normal post-operative sequelae.

  1. The area operated on will usually swell and may become quite large.

  2. Stiffness of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth.

  3. You may have a slight earache.

  4. A sore throat may develop.

  5. Numbness may develop around the lip in the area of the operation. This is called paresthesia, and is most often a temporary condition which will correct itself. It may remain anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

  6. Your other teeth may ache temporarily. This is called sympathetic pain and is a temporary condition.

  7. Black and blue discoloration may occur on the outside of the face near the area of surgery. This occurrence is not unusual and will resolve within several days.

  8. If sutures (stitches) were used to close the surgical wound, they will be removed at a subsequent date.

Post-operative Care of the Mouth

Swelling, discomfort, and restricted jaw movements are expected, and need not cause alarm. These may be minimized by the following instructions.

  1. If a prescription has been given for pain, have it filled and take as directed on the label. If there are any undesirable effects of the medication, discontinue all medication and call this office. Medication for pain may make you drowsy; it is therefore advisable not to drive a car or operate any machinery while taking the medication.

  2. An ice pack may be applied to the face in the area of surgery. Apply for 20 minutes and discontinue for 20 minutes. This may be done for the day of surgery. Do not apply heat to the outside of the face.

  3. It is advisable to drink fluids and eat softer foods for 48 hours following surgery. Hot foods should be avoided for 24 hours following surgery. Do not smoke for at least 24 hours following surgery.

  4. If nausea occurs, a small amount of a carbonated drink (Coca Cola or ginger ale) every hour for 5 or 6 hours will usually terminate this feeling. Follow with mild tea or clear soup.

  5. The day following surgery the mouth should be rinsed gently with warm salt water (1\2 teaspoon salt in a large glass of warm water), or Listerene® after each meal and at bed time. Your normal oral hygiene (brushing the teeth and the use of dental floss) should be continued.

For the removal of teeth

  1. Control of bleeding: Remove the gauze pack approximately 1 hour after surgery. Slight bleeding is expected. If bleeding is excessive, place a sterile gauze or a moistened tea bag over the wound and bite firmly for 30 minutes with constant pressure. Spitting may start bleeding, so it is advisable not to spit following surgery.

For periodontal surgery

  1. A dressing is covering the tissues which were surgically treated today. It is most important that you take the best possible care of these tissues while they are healing.

  2. It takes 3 to 4 hours for the dressing to harden.

  3. Small pieces of the dressing may break off in the days following surgery. If the area is small and your mouth feels comfortable, it is perfectly safe to wait until your next appointment. If the area becomes painful following the loss of a larger piece, it might be necessary to replace the dressing.

  4. The dressing should be brushed lightly when brushing your teeth to keep it clean. Continue your normal oral hygiene on the rest of your mouth.

  5. A small amount of bleeding is to be expected for one day following surgery.

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