Post-Operative Instructions

Post Operative Instructions

Immediately after surgery, you should rest for some time before someone takes you home. Our team will monitor your condition during this time and make sure you’re in good condition before you leave.

Follow these post-operative instructions to ensure your recovery goes smoothly.

Bleeding, Discomfort, and Swelling

To control bleeding after an extraction or surgery, apply undisturbed pressure over the area for about an hour. You may need someone to assist you and help you see the surgical site better. Follow these steps for the best results:

  • Carefully place the gauze pad over the area
  • Bite down firmly for at least an hour
  • Gently remove the gauze from the surgical site
  • If necessary, repeat the process until bleeding has stopped

If you still notice bleeding while the gauze is over the area, you may need to re-position it so you can apply adequate pressure. If that does not help, add one or two additional gauze pads to make a thicker one. Contact our office if you still cannot stop the bleeding despite using all attempts.

Swelling and discomfort are normal parts of post-operative healing, though the incidence and intensity can vary from person to person. For mild discomfort, we recommend taking Ibuprofen or Advil every four hours while pain persists. Remember that taking a lot is likely to cause an upset stomach.

The prescription pain medication we prescribed is reserved for higher levels of discomfort. Take one to two tablets every four hours while pain persists. You may combine the prescription medication with generic brands in small amounts, but it could increase the risk of nausea.

Applying ice packs to the affected area can help control swelling. Do this for the first 24 hours after surgery for only 10 to 15 minutes every hour.

In some rare cases, patients may experience intense pain during the first few hours after surgery. This is generally a short-term side effect as the local anesthesia wears off. You may increase your pain medication during this time only if you haven’t taken the maximum dose in the last four hours.

It’s normal for swelling to appear worse during the first three days after surgery. Please contact our office if you notice an increase in swelling or discomfort after the fourth day.

Nausea or Vomiting

Nausea is a common side effect of IV sedation and oral pain medication. You can reduce this by taking pills with food or a warm cup of water. If you’re still experiencing nausea, stop taking all medications. Do not consume any foods or liquid until the nausea resolves; then, you can take your prescribed anti-nausea medication.

After your nausea completely subsides, you can resume taking pain medication and eating like normal. Call us if it persists for more than eight hours.

Pain or Dry Sockets

Dry socket is an unpleasant post-operative side effect that’s usually not serious. It’s described as a throbbing pain around the affected area that may radiate to the ear and throughout the jaw. Dry socket generally occurs about 24 to 36 hours after surgery.

You may use the prescription pain medication to alleviate discomfort from dry socket. Contact us if it doesn’t help, as we may need to treat it with a medicated dressing. We’ll remove it 24 to 48 hours after placement.

Follow-up Visits

You should start scheduling routine follow-up visits about five to seven days after your surgery. Your dentist will examine the surgical site and give you follow-up instructions. You’re free to contact us if you aren’t feeling well or if you’re unhappy about something.

What is Normal?

It’s normal to experience pain and swelling for two to three days after surgery. Bleeding should be under control within the first eight hours after surgery if you follow all post-op instructions.

Stay home and rest if you’re feeling bad and start resuming normal activities once you’re feeling better. You should stay home if you’ve taken the stronger pain medication.

Dental assistant holding a tablet device while talking to another dental assistant.

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