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What is dental surgery?

Dental surgery often refers to head, neck, face, jaws, hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region, but can also include gum grafts, and laser treatment for the removal of soft tissue. Once examined our dentists will help you if these procedures are needed or required.

What can I expect after oral surgery?

Normal oozing may occur for up to 24 hours following surgery. This can be controlled by biting and applying pressure on several gauze pads or a tea bag placed over the tooth socket. Maintain pressure on the socket for 60 minutes after surgery and then replace gauze pads if necessary for further 60 minute intervals if necessary. Smoking, drinking with a straw, and physical activity may cause bleeding — avoid them for 24 hours after surgery. If bleeding becomes brisk and fills your mouth quickly, contact our office.

Swelling and sometimes bruising is common after surgery, normally peaking 48 hours after surgery and usually lasting four to six days. To keep this to a minimum, apply ice packs, on and off in 15 minute intervals, for the first 12 hours after your surgery. Keeping your head elevated also helps. The swelling should dissipate within seven to ten days; however, applying warm compresses starting the second day should expedite its resolution.

Some discomfort is normal after surgery – the first six to eight hours immediately following the procedure tend to be the worst. The pain can be controlled, but not eliminated, by taking the prescribed pain medication. Never take pain medication on an empty stomach, and follow the instructions given. If itching or a rash develops, stop taking all medications and contact your dentist. If the pain becomes worse after the fourth day, arrange for an appointment.

Muscle Soreness
Difficulty in opening the jaws and muscle stiffness are common after some extractions, particularly wisdom teeth. This is normal and will improve in five to ten days. Chewing gum at intervals and applying moist heat 48 hours after the procedure will relieve muscle soreness.

Mouth Care
Brush and floss as usual, but avoid the surgical site for the rest of the day. Beginning the following day, rinse with salt water (one teaspoon of salt mixed with warm water) for 30-second intervals at least five times a day; continue for a week. Two days following surgery, begin lightly brushing the surgical area. Be sure to run your toothbrush under hot water to soften the bristles; do not use toothpaste. Smoking is not advised postoperatively for a minimum of one week. Nicotine in any form interferes with the healing process and increases the incidences of infection, dry socket and other complications.

It is important to maintain a good nutritional diet after your surgery. Eat lukewarm, soft foods the day of the surgery. Remember to drink as many fluids as possible over the next three days.

If swelling increases four days after the procedure, accompanied by a fever or by a foul taste, contact our office.

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