Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should I take the gauze out?

A: Maintain firm biting pressure on the gauze packing for 30-60 minutes after your surgery. 

  • Some bleeding or “oozing” is normal for the first 24 hours. Do not be alarmed. Do not replace the gauze unless heavy bleeding is present.
  • For heavy bleeding, gauze may be replaced for an additional 30 minutes. If excessive bleeding persists longer than a few hours, contact the office for further instructions.

Q: Is it normal to have pain after surgery?

A: Pain is expected following surgery and normally peaks between 48-72 hours after surgery. Take pain medication(s) as prescribed and/or directed to improve comfort during this period.

Q: How soon can I brush my teeth?

A: Do not brush, rinse or spit for the first 24 hours. Gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush may be resumed after that.

Q: Is it normal to have swelling?

A: Swelling is normal following surgery and usually peaks at about 48-72 hours after surgery. It will slowly subside.

Q: What can I do to reduce swelling?

A: Apply an ice pack for the first 24 hours after surgery. (20 minutes on-20 minutes off) Swelling is normal and usually peaks at about 48-72 hours after surgery.

Q What is a dry socket?

A. A dry socket is when part of the blood clot either dissolves or falls out of the surgical site. This is not a serious complication, but is often a painful one. Symptoms include: severe throbbing pain in the jaw that radiates toward the ear, usually 3-5 days after surgery. Please contact the office, as a medicated dressing may be placed into the site to improve comfort as the healing progresses.

Q: If I was sedated, what should I do when I get home?

A: Immediately lie down with your head elevated until all of the effects of the anesthesia have subsided.

  • Anesthetic effects vary by individual and you may feel drowsy for a short period of time or several hours.
  • You should not operate any mechanical equipment or drive a motor vehicle for at least 24 hours or longer if you feel any residual effect from the anesthetic.

Q: How soon should I take pain medicine?

A: Pain medicine should be taken before the local anesthetic wears off. Local anesthesia will be present for 1-4 hours.

  • Take all medications as prescribed and/or directed.
  • Do not take pain medications on an empty stomach. (1 cup of clear liquids should be taken before medications are given).
  • Do not mix medications with alcoholic beverages.
  • While taking narcotic pain medication that may make you sleepy, it is very important to avoid driving a vehicle or operating any heavy machinery.
  • To avoid injury, do not bite or pinch your lip or tongue and avoid very hot liquids until the numbness wears off.
  • IMPORTANT: If an antibiotic is prescribed, all female patients utilizing birth control pills must be advised that you need to use an alternative method of birth control during this time.

Q: Is it normal to have bruising?

A: Bruising may be present at varying degrees. It will subside over a period of 5-14 days.

Q: What can I eat?

A: Diet may consist of soft foods that can be easily chewed and swallowed.(pancakes, eggs, pasta, mashed potatoes, yogurt, apple sauce etc).

  • Avoid hot temperature foods until the numbness subsides.
  • Avoid spicy foods, seeds, nuts, popcorn, etc.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid using a straw for 24 hours; doing so may dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
  • Advance diet as tolerated.

Q: How soon should I start rinsing?

A: Do not rinse or spit for the first 24 hours. After that, use a warm salt-water rinse following meals and before bedtime. (1 teaspoon of salt in an 8oz.glass of warm water.) Continue to do so over the next few weeks.

Q What if I have intolerable pain in my jaw or ear?

A: These could be symptoms of a dry socket and you should contact the office.

Q: How soon can I resume normal activity?

A: Limit physical activity during the first 3 days after surgery. Avoid heavy lifting for 1 week after surgery. Avoid contact sports for 1 week after surgery.

Q: What are things I should avoid?

A: -Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco for several days to decrease the chance of delayed healing and infection.

  • Do not use a straw for 24 hours; doing so may dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using pain medication.

Q: Will my sutures fall out?

A: If sutures were placed, they will dissolve on their own within 7-14 days. Do not tug or pull on the stitches. For some patients, suture removal appointments will be scheduled after surgery.

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