Routine Post-Surgical Care

The doctor will provide you with detailed instructions as part of your treatment.  Generally, the first dose of medication should be taken with a clear liquid (such as a Sprite or 7-Up), or tea.  After the first dose, avoid taking medication on an empty stomach.  The second dose can be taken if discomfort re-surfaces and after you have taken something to eat or drink (at this stage, soup or a mike shake would be recommended.

Some bleeding is to be expected after surgery or extraction.  It is important to keep pressure on the surgery site, and it may take around forty-five minutes of pressure to slow or stop the bleeding.  If bleeding continues, replace the gauze pad and continue to apply pressure; harder if necessary at this time.  After the bleeding stops, keep in mind that saliva can contain blood for several days after a surgery.

It is best to avoid rinsing immediately after surgery.  Your doctor should provide some specific directions.  On the day after surgery, begin to rinse gently with mouth wash (salt water).  This may be done several times a day and is suggested after eating.

Swelling is a consequence of surgery, and ice packs should be used during the first two days to help reduce swelling.  Patients may notice more swelling on the second day.

On the third day after surgery, heat becomes a more effective tool in dealing with discomfort, swelling, stiffness and bruising.  Heat can be applied for thirty minute intervals and can be done several times a day, or until the symptom are relieved.

A liquid diet is the recommendation during the two days following surgery.  Juices, water, soup and smoothies should be consumed starting three hours after surgery.  After the two days, soft foods can be eaten, and other foods can be added as you recover.  There may be some foods that the doctor may recommend not eating during this period.  Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed during the first day after surgery, and there may be further restrictions depending on the medication prescribed.

Smoking should be avoided during the first two days after surgery.

Emergencies:  Following the instructions above should help speed recovery and reduce complications.  If unusual symptoms do surface during the recovery period, please contact the doctor at (810-348-1923).  You should begin to see improvement over the course of three or four days, but tenderness may linger for several days afterwards.  If pain is persistent after three or four days, please contact the office.  Remember to schedule a post-surgical evaluation between 12 and 14 days after the surgery.

Additional Instructions for Patients having Third Molar Surgery

Antibiotics are usually prescribed and should be taken with a liquid diet four hours after surgery.  Continue taking the antibiotics as prescribed until it is finished.

Anti-Inflammatory medications help to reduce swelling  and pain, but do not cause drowsiness.  This type of medication can be used starting four hours after surgery (remember to take with a liquid diet).  Plan on taking anti-inflammatory medication every 6 hours for 3 days.  

If the anti-inflammatory does not work to reduce pain, a stronger narcotic medication may be prescribed after consulting with the doctor.  Such medications can cause drowsiness, therefore driving or operating machinery should be avoided.

To control the initial post-surgical bleeding, firm pressure should be applied for at least an hour.  Bite down on the gauze sponges covering the surgical site.  If bleeding continues after an hour, sterile gauze should be used until the bleeding stops.

Ice packs should be used for up to two days after surgery.

Rinsing can be started up to 24 hours after surgery.  Rinsing should be done after meals.

As with routine surgery, a liquid diet is recommended for the first two days and can be started after 3 hours.  

Smoking should be avoided during the first two days after surgery.

Nausea medication has been given to you.  Use as directed.

The First Day After Surgery

It is typical to have swelling and some discomfort at the outset.  Take medication as directed and pain medication as needed, and maintain a liquid diet through the day.    Use ice packs during the day.  As for brushing your teeth, avoid the surgical sites until your post-surgical evaluation.

The Second Day After Surgery

Continue taking medication as directed.  You should be able to supplement the liquid diet with soft foods such as mashed potatoes, apple sauce, pasta, smoothies or scrambled eggs.  It may also be time to discontinue using the ice packs.

The Third Day After Surgery

Continue to take your medication as directed.  If appropriate, you may be able to discontinue using the anti-inflammatory medicine and pain medication.  More solid foods should start to be consumed, but stay away from hard or chewy food for a few more days.  If swelling is still a concern, turn to heat as a way of alleviating the discomfort.