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Oral Surgery Take-Home Instructions

Thank you for the opportunity to take great care of you.  Sometimes it is hard to remember all the post-operative instructions we go over in the office.  We understand that having oral surgery can be very stressful, so we just want to follow up with a few recommendations to help make your recovery more comfortable.

  • Before surgery: stop smoking if at all possible

  • Avoid the following for 72 hours:
    • Intense rinsing
    • Spitting
    • Sucking through a straw
    • Smoking/tobacco/marijuana use
    • Drinking alcohol

These will irritate the surgical site and slow the healing process and/or cause a dry socket. An increase in bleeding, pain or swelling after the 3rd day following your extraction could indicate a “dry socket.” Dry socket treatment is only topical pain relieve and does not assist in the healing process. Treatment of dry socket due to not following after-care instructions properly may be subject to an exam fee if you need to be seen sooner than your 1-week follow-up.

  • Avoid the following for 1 week:
    • Vigorous exercise or any heavy exertion for the next week, which can provoke bleeding, slow healing, increase risk for painful “dry socket,” and compromise the final result.
    • Picking at the extraction site with any fingers or tools
    • Using a WaterPik to irrigate the site. Doing so can cause unnecessary trauma to the area and can prevent proper healing.

  • Stitches that were placed will dissolve on their own, and any remaining stitches after one week will be removed at your follow up appointment.

  • Drink plenty of water, eat soft foods and get plenty of rest. This will help your body recover faster.  Avoid foods with seeds, nuts, oatmeal, or rice. Suggested foods to eat:  blended soups, broths, greek yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, applesauce, mashed bananas, avocado, smoothies.

  • Use ice packs, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, for the first 2 days to minimize swelling.

  • If necessary, use a folded damp gauze compress in the area, changing it periodically, until bleeding stops.

After 24 hours, use gentle warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of water) to help soothe your gum tissues.

Pain medication is to be taken as follows:

Most often, pain can be relieved by taking anti-inflammatories such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen), which are available without a prescription at your local drug store. In order to minimize the prescription of opioid/narcotic medications, we recommend taking Tylenol and Motrin/Advil in combination (not one or the other). Medical and dental studies have shown that, when used together, they safely relieve pain to a degree equal to that of a prescription-grade pain killer.

Adults:  Up to 800mg of ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) every 6-8 hours for up to 2 days, then by instructions on the bottle thereafter. Note that there is a 3,200mg daily (24-hour period) maximum of ibuprofen for safety in adults.  

Children:  Depending upon modality (chewables, liquid, etc), follow instructions on Children’s ibuprofen (Children’s Motrin) bottle for safe pediatric dosing based upon weight.

Adults: Up to 650mg of Tylenol Regular Strength (acetaminophen) every 4-6 hours for up to 2 days, then by instructions on the bottle thereafter. Note that there is a 3,000mg daily (24-hour period) maximum of Tylenol for safety in adults.

Children:  Depending upon modality (chewables, liquid, etc), follow instructions on Children’s Tylenol bottle for safe pediatric dosing based upon weight.

When you are prescribed a prescription-grade pain medication, such as Norco (hydrocodone) or Percocet (oxycodone), be aware that these are potentially addictive substances when misused and are only prescribed to you for the purposes of pain management after your dental procedure. Please do not operate a vehicle or machinery when taking these medications. Note that Norco and Percocet contain the painkiller ingredient AND Tylenol; so be sure to not exceed the recommended daily maximum dosage of Tylenol.

Any antibiotics should be taken as prescribed until completely finished to avoid compromised healing, infection, or failure of bone graft or implant.

You should recover in a few days but if you experience abnormal discomfort or have any questions regarding recovery, please feel free to call your treatment coordinator at PureCare Dental 541-647-5555.