After Exposure of an Impacted Tooth
Do not disturb the wound. If surgical packing was placed, leave it alone. The pack helps to keep the tooth exposed. If it gets dislodged or falls out do not get alarmed but place the packing in a zip-loc or plastic bag and bring into the office for your visit. By bringing the packing in we can be assured that the packing was removed from the wound.
Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding which results in your mouth filling rapidly with blood can frequently be controlled by biting with pressure on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound. The more you apply light constant pressure on the wound sites, the sooner the bleeding will subside. If excessive bleeding occurs it may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for forty-five minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, make sure that the patient is not feeling undo discomfort, does not become excited, sits upright, and avoids exercise. If bleeding does not subside or you are concerned with the amount of bleeding, feel free to call the office.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. The swelling that is normally expected is usually determined by the position of the tooth. Teeth towards the palate tend to swell less than teeth towards the lip. In any event, this is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the use of ice packs and elevation of the head. Ice packs can be made by placing a zip-loc bag within a second zip-loc bag and filling the inner bag with ice. Some patients prefer to use frozen vegetables or commercial gel packs. In any event, the ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on for 45-50 minutes every hour. It is important to allow the skin to warm to room temperature every hour to avoid the risk of a thermal burn. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling persists on the fourth post-operative day, heat (either moist or dry) may be applied to the face to help resolve the swelling. The heat is applied in a similar method as the ice packs
After general anesthetic or I.V. sedation, liquids should be initially taken. Do not use straws as they cause the bleeding to persist longer. Drink from a glass. We recommend that you stay on clear liquids until the heavy bleeding subsides. It is important that you keep hydrated and drink fluids at least every hour. Once the bleeding has slowed down you may resume drinking full liquids (fluids with cream and milk) or begin a soft diet. Make sure that all chewing is away from the surgical sites. Refer to the section on suggested diet instructions at the end of the brochure. Usually, normal dietary intake can take place the day after the surgery.
Your doctor and surgery staff will review your post-operative pain treatment with you and/or your family members after your surgery. If you have any questions about how to take the medications prescribed, please call the office for clarification. The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. If applicable, do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Since pain medication, especially in the post-anesthetic patient, can make you more susceptible to light-headedness and fainting with positional movement, we recommend you are assisted with all ambulation the first day of surgery. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists and you do not see improvement of your symptoms, it may require attention and you should call the office.
Mouth cleanliness is essential to good healing. Clean your mouth thoroughly after each meal beginning the day after surgery. Brush your teeth as best you can. Rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) periodically through the day. Continue this procedure until healing is complete. REMEMBER: A clean wound heals better and faster.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. It is best to limit your activities on the day of your surgery. In most cases, you will be able to resume normal activity the day after your surgery.