POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOWING A DENTAL SURGERY
Instructions to follow after an extraction or a surgery:
1. Bleeding: To prevent bleeding, moisten the gauze, fold it and place it on the socket. Bite firmly on it for 60 minutes. If bleeding persists, the procedure should be repeated. A tea bag moistened with lukewarm water is also effective. Do not change the gauze or tea bag more than once per hour.
2. Medications: If you have already taken pain medication today, please advise the dentist/pharmacist. If not, obtain your prescription and take as directed. The first dose should be taken 1 hour after surgery in order to have an effect before the anesthesia wears off.
3. Food: It is important to maintain adequate nutrition in order to promote proper healing. Fluids are important, however you must avoid drinking with a straw as this can disturb the blood clot that is forming. You can begin with fruit juices and progress to a soft diet. Avoid all spicy foods and alcoholic beverages for at least 3 days.
4. Rinsing and brushing: Do not rinse or spit following surgery, this can disturb the blood clot and lead to a dry socket which must be treated at the clinic. After 24 hours, rinse gently with lukewarm slightly salted water (mix one teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of water) three times a day.
Avoid smoking for at least 2 days, as this too increases the risk of post-operative complications.
You can brush your teeth as usual, but avoid the surgical site for several days. You may be given a special mouthwash if you have had an extensive surgery.
5. Ice: To prevent inflammation and swelling, ice packs should be applied on the cheek of the affected area. You can apply ice for 10 minutes at a time for 2 to 3 hours following the extraction.
6. Complications: Occasionally the patients will experience allergic reactions to prescribed medications (generalized rash, itching, swelling, etc...), infections (bad taste, swelling, malaise) and alveolitis or dry socket (bad breath, severe pain 4-7 days after the extraction). These potential complications are often easily treated and must be brought to our attention.
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