If you are undergoing a procedure for the exposure of an impacted tooth, it is important to follow these important post-operative instructions carefully to ensure optimal healing and quick recovery.
- After your surgery, do not disturb the wound or the packing that is placed inside in your mouth. This packing is in place to keep the tooth exposed; however, do not be alarmed if this packing falls out or moves from its original positioning. If your surgeon has attached a small gold chain to the impacted tooth, it is essential that your orthodontist activates the chain as soon as possible following your surgery. If this chain becomes dislodged from the tooth, please contact our office immediately to have the chain replaced.
- A small amount of bleeding is common for up to 24 hours. If you experience excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood), place a gauze pad directly over the extraction site and hold it in place with firm biting pressure for 30 minutes or until the bleeding is controlled. If your bleeding does not slow, please contact our office.
- Swelling is normal after surgery and is a major cause of post-extraction discomfort. Swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the side of your face for 10 minutes. Transfer the ice pack to the opposite side of your face for another 10 minutes. Continue icing your face as much as possible for the first 36 hours, but be careful to avoid freezing the skin. These measures will not eliminate swelling, but they will help to reduce its severity.
- It is important to drink fluids after your surgery. Start with clear liquids, such as apple juice, tea, or broth. Always cool down any hot foods or liquids during the first 24 hours. On the day of your surgery, you should eat only soft foods, such as soups, eggs, and mashed potatoes. Gradually build your appetite back up to normal eating habits as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
- Discomfort is normal after any surgery. If you are not allergic or intolerant to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, start taking ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) or Tylenol® as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. If you are asthmatic, do not take ibuprofen unless you have tolerated it in the past. If your pain is not controlled by the ibuprofen alone, take your prescribed narcotic in addition to the ibuprofen. Ibuprofen and your prescribed narcotic may be taken together. Be certain to take your pain medication with food to help prevent nausea. Remember, narcotic pain medicine will impair your judgment and reflexes.
- Begin brushing your teeth and cleaning your mouth the day after surgery. It is important to brush all your teeth, even if the teeth and gums are sensitive. Bacterial plaque and food accumulation near the extraction site will delay healing. Begin saltwater rinses the day after surgery and continue until the surgical site heals. Rinse with warm salt water six times each day. To make the saltwater solution, dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm tap water.