After Surgery Instructions


BLEEDING: Bite down firmly on gauze packs over your extraction sites. Make sure they remain in place. Do not remove or change them for the first hour. Gently remove after one hour. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 45 to 60 minutes). Make sure not to move your jaw while biting on the gauze. Intermittent oozing overnight is normal. You may drool while you are sleeping. If this concerns you place a towel on your pillow before you go to sleep.

ANESTHESIA: Local anesthesia (or numbing,) usually takes 1 to 5 hours to wear off. Do not chew or bite food, or drink hot liquids until the numbing effect has completely worn off. 

CARE: Do not disturb the procedure area today. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. You may brush your teeth gently, but be sure to avoid the areas affected. Avoid any mouth rinses the day of surgery. DO NOT SPIT. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 2 weeks, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket or infection. Please ask if you desire help avoiding smoking.

SWELLING: Swelling is often associated with oral dental procedures. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area, 20 minutes on and off during the first 24 hours. After that, heat packs can be applied.

PAIN: To better manage your discomfort, take pain medication before the anesthetic has worn off. Narcotic pain medicine may cause nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with food your chances for nausea will be reduced. Narcotics may also cause constipation. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and if you are concerned with this you can take a stool softener. Narcotics can also cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and other adverse reactions. Please take caution.

NAUSEA: Nausea is not uncommon after an extraction. Swallowed blood and anxiety may lead to an upset stomach. Additionally, pain and other medications can also lead to nausea. If you have had IV sedation, you may feel sleepy, dizzy or nauseous for the first 12 to 24 hours. Drink plenty of water. Ginger ale may also help an upset stomach. Try to eat light foods. It is important to have your escort, or another responsible adult available to assist you.

DIET: Eat food based on your comfort. Avoid extremely hot foods. Do not use a straw for the first 2 weeks after surgery. Avoid foods like rice, crackers, nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., These foods may get lodged in the socket areas and create discomfort. Over the next several days, you may gradually progress to solid foods. It is important to get enough calories and protein to heal properly.


MOUTH RINSES: Keeping your mouth clean after extractions is essential. Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least 3 – 4 times daily. Do not spit; allow the fluid to fall out of your mouth. If you have been given a curved tip syringe from Dr. Fenton, you can begin to gently flush out the extraction sockets 1 week after surgery.

BRUSHING: Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after the procedure. You may want to avoid brushing the surgical area for the first 24 hours. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to gently clean your mouth within the bounds of comfort. Do not forcefully spit.

HOT APPLICATIONS: You may apply warm compresses to the skin over the areas of swelling for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help soothe tender areas. This will also help decrease swelling and stiffness. Please do not place extremely hot items directly on your face for that can cause burns.

HEALING: Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first 2-3 days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the third day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the after surgery course should be gradual. After that, steady improvement. If you do not see continued improvement, please call me. It is my desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please schedule a follow up appointment or call to speak with Dr. Fenton.