Healing: It is normal to have post operative discomfort for 1-2 weeks following your surgical procedure. Typically, discomfort increases post operatively days 3 to 5 and then begins to subside after the 5th day. If swelling/discomfort worsens after the 7th day, this can be an indication of infection, dry socket, and/or poor healing. If this is the case, please contact the office.
It may be tempting to pull your lip back or to explore your mouth to check on healing during this period of time, but please, DO NOT do this. Pulling the lip back or checking the surgical area may put extra tension on the stitches, which may cause them to come loose and interfere with surgical healing. The only thing that you should be place on the surgical area is gauze to help slow down any bleeding (see Bleeding Section below) or cleaning with a Q-tip as instructed by the assistants (see Oral Hygiene Section below).
Do NOT smoke, spit, or drink through a straw for 2 weeks after the surgery; doing so will cause wound breakdown, improper healing, and stitches to become loose.
Bleeding: You will be biting on gauze and changing it out every 30 minutes after your surgical procedure. Light bleeding or oozing is normal for the first 24- 72 hours following the surgery and biting on gauze limits the oozing. Blood may mix with saliva making it appear pink/red while rinsing, this is a normal occurrence.
If bleeding worsens, do not vigorously rinse your mouth, instead gently wipe the blood away with clean gauze and apply firm pressure to the area for 15 minutes. If bleeding still does not stop, then apply a wet Tea Bag (black tea, no herbal teas) over the site with firm pressure for 60 minutes and contact our office.
Pain Management: Post-operative discomfort is to be expected. Minor discomfort may persist for 1-2 weeks but should begin to improve with each passing day. Take the prescribed pain medication for the first 3-5 days, then as needed for pain. It is recommended that you alternate between two over-the-counter extra strength Tylenol (Acetaminophen 500 mg) or prescribed Motrin (Ibuprofen 600 mg) every 6 hours. If prescribed narcotics, alternative the narcotic with Motrin (Ibuprofen 600 mg) since most narcotics contain Tylenol (Acetaminophen 500 mg).
If this alternating regimen is not providing enough pain relief, then you can take the two extra strength Tylenol (Acetaminophen 500 mg) and prescribed Motrin (Ibuprofen 600 mg) together every 8 hours.
Do NOT drink alcohol or operate heavy machinery while on narcotic pain medication.
Antibiotics: If antibiotics were prescribed take them as prescribed until the medication is finished. It is important to take them even if you feel better. If taking birth control, it is recommended to use another contraceptive method due to antibiotics making birth control less effective. If you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction or adverse side effects, contact the office immediately.
Swelling/Bruising: Minor swelling on the inside and outside of the mouth is typical and should reduce after the 5th day of healing. Using an ice pack for the first 48 hours will help bring down the swelling. It is recommended to hold an ice pack wrapped in a towel against your cheek for 20 minutes, and then let it rest for 20 minutes before applying again. Repeat this for up to 48 hours. After 48 hours, a hot compress is recommended to help reduce swelling.
Sutures: Most sutures dissolve within 2-4 weeks following surgery. If your doctors feel that non-dissolvable sutures are more effective for your surgical treatment, these sutures will likely be removed 2 weeks after your surgery.
Oral hygiene: Use prescribed mouth rinse (Peridex) 3 times per day starting 24 hours after surgery.
For the 1st week post-surgery:
Diet: Only eat soft foods for 2 weeks following surgical treatment. Golden Rule: If you can gently cut it with a fork, you can eat it. For example, tuna, mashed potatoes, flaky fishes, eggs, Jell-O, pudding, yogurt, and ice cream are all things that are considered to be soft. Avoid spicy, hard, fibrous, crunchy, excessively hot foods until after your post-operative visit.
Activity: Do NOT perform cardio, heavy lifting, use saunas or steam rooms for the first 7 days following treatment. DO NOT SMOKE FOLLOWING SURGERY! Smoking may cause a dry socket, infection or poor wound healing which may be very painful and will require immediate attention.
Appliances: If you regularly wear an appliance and it is causing you to experience swelling/pain, avoid wearing them for a few days or until the swelling goes down. If you MUST wear the appliance notify your doctor.
Easy Mnemonic to Remember Instructions:
R - Rest; take things easy, no major exercise or heavy lifting
I - Ice; ice the outside of your face 20 mins on, 20 minutes off for first 2 days
C- Compression; bite on gauze and apply pressure to surgical area for the first day; changing out gauze every 30 mins
E- Elevation, sleep with your head above your heart, meaning place an extra pillow at night, no need to sleep in recliner