Sometimes the after-effects of surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office.
Care of your mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing. Swelling, discomfort, and restricted jaw function are expected and should not cause alarm. These may be minimized by following the instructions below. Please read them carefully. Please note that there is no additional charge for your post-operative care.
Remove the gauze pack after 1 hour. Slight bleeding is expected. If bleeding is excessive, place a moistened, folded gauze pad or a moistened tea bag over the wound and bite firmly for 30 minutes with constant pressure. Assume a semi-upright position using a couple of pillows. Do not spit, use straws, smoke, or brush your teeth for the first 24 hours. Spitting or sucking causes bleeding to continue. Depending on your exact surgery, you may have packing in place over the impacted tooth site. This helps keep tissue from growing over the tooth and reduces pain and bleeding. It may fall out after several days or your orthodontist or dentist will remove it on your next visit.
Take your medications as directed on the package. If you develop hives or a rash, discontinue all medications and contact our office. Do not drive or operate mechanical equipment after taking prescription pain medication.
Apply an ice pack on the face near the area where surgery was done upon returning home and change it frequently. Continue this on and off for 24–48 hours. Peak swelling should occur between the second and third day after surgery and then diminish slowly.
A liquid to soft food diet is recommended the day of surgery. Avoid using straws, chewing over the surgical area, and extremely hot foods and foods with sharp edges (chips, pretzels, etc.) for a few days. Gradually resume your normal diet as tolerated.
A small amount of a carbonated drink every 5–6 hours will usually terminate nausea. Follow this with mild tea or clear soup and then easily digestible foods such as toast or crackers. Over-the-counter Dramamine® can be taken to reduce the nausea. If it continues, contact our office.
The day following surgery, the mouth may be rinsed gently with a lukewarm salt water solution (a ½ teaspoon of salt per half glass of lukewarm water) or prescribed mouthwash after each meal and at bedtime. The teeth should be brushed, but avoid the site of surgery for several days. Do not use hydrogen peroxide rinses or an irrigation device like a Waterpik® for at least 1 week.
Smokers are advised not to smoke for 3 days following surgery.
Avoid overfatigue and get adequate rest. Avoiding sports, exercise, and strenuous activity for at least 2–3 days is generally recommended.
It is usually best to avoid routine or elective dental care for approximately 2 weeks after surgery unless your doctor has advised otherwise.
If you have been given an appointment for post-operative surgical care, please return to our office as scheduled. Generally, an appointment with your orthodontic treatment provider should be arranged within the next 2 weeks. If you are experiencing problems or have questions, we can usually arrange a post-operative visit on short notice. Please note that there are no additional charges for post-operative care visits.