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Post-Op Instructions

Dental Surgery Post-Operative Instructions

Kokomo Dental Surgery | Peru Dental Surgery | Ladd Dental group of Kokomo

Post-O Dental Surgery Instructions for Extractions and Oral Surgery 

Oral surgery may be required for a variety of reasons. You may have an impacted tooth trapped in the jawbone or a tooth that is poorly positioned and damaging neighboring teeth. It is especially common to have these types of problems with growing wisdom teeth. Oral surgery is also necessary for the placement of dental implants and for a few types of gum treatments.
After surgery, it is normal for the area to be tender for the first few days but, in most cases, over-the-counter pain relief is enough to ease any discomfort. You should avoid aspirin because it thins the blood and can make your mouth bleed. In some cases your doctor may suggest prescription painkillers. Whatever your method of pain relief, be sure to start taking it immediately after surgery – don’t wait until pain sets in. It's far easier to prevent pain than to make it go away.

Day 1: Continue biting on the gauze for 30-60 minutes following your procedure. Do NOT spit, rinse, suck (using a straw), smoke, drink carbonated or alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours. Passively empty your mouth when needed. The goal is to keep blood clot in the socket to prevent bleeding and a painful complication known as DRY SOCKET.  

Day 2: You will most likely experience one or more of the following symptoms: Minor pain, swelling, bruising, limitation in opening or closing your mouth, pain in jaw or ear, sore throat. It is important to listen to your body and take it easy. No heavy lifting, spitting, sucking, alcohol or smoking.

Oral hygiene: Brush gently. A gentle lukewarm salt water rinse can be used to freshen your mouth. But again, do not spit; just let the fluid passively empty. The corners of your mouth may become cracked and dry – moisturize frequently.

Discomfort: Over-the-counter- pain medication (Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Tylenol) may be taken as directed on the bottle to relieve discomfort. Swelling: Apply cold compresses to affected area at 10 minute intervals for the first 24 hours to minimize swelling. Any swelling that occurs usually begins to diminish within 72 hours; call the office if there is no change.

Bleeding: Some oozing of blood is normal for the first 12-24 hours. Put a hand towel on your pillow as some drooling can occur when you are numb. If you experience excessive bleeding, apply firm pressure with 1-2 folded gauze pads or damp tea bag on the affected area for 30-60 minutes and keep your head elevated. Call the office if the bleeding does not subside.

Diet: Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid carbonated and alcoholic beverages. A soft diet will be easiest: yogurt, milkshakes (no straw), soups, fish, pasta. Nothing too spicy is recommended. It is normal to have a little tenderness while chewing and difficulty opening wide.

Stitches: If you have received sutures, avoid playing with them. A fifteen minute appointment will be needed to remove the sutures in 7-10 days. Prescriptions: If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed until they are all gone, even if symptoms dissipate. Some antibiotics can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills or other medications. If pain medication or a mouth rinse is prescribed take as directed. In case of any unusual disturbances, questions or any post surgical problems, please call the Ladd Dental location where your dental surgery took place. 

What are Dry Sockets  

Dry sockets continue to be the most common problem people experience following dental surgery. They arise due to premature loss of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket and affect approximately one out of five patients. This seems to occur with greater frequency in people who smoke or are taking birth control pills. While both jaws can be affected, they usually occur in the lower jaw on the third to fifth day. They cause a deep, dull, continuous aching on the affected side(s). Patients may first notice the pain starting in the ear radiating down towards the chin. It frequently begins in the middle of the night, and the Motrin medication usually doesn’t help. Treatment involves placing a medicated dressing in the “empty” tooth socket. This will help decrease the pain and protect the socket from food particles. The effectiveness in alleviating the pain lasts for 24-48 hours and usually will require dressing changes every day or two for five to seven days. Dressings usually are removed when you have been pain free for 2-3 days. The dressing doesn’t aid in healing. The only reason to place a dressing is for pain control. If Motrin is controlling the pain, the socket will heal without a dressing. An irrigation device will be given to you to help keep food particles from lodging in the extraction site following removal of the dressing.
If you need assistance over the weekend, it is helpful if you call around 9:00 AM, so that we can arrange to see you in one of our offices. We appreciate your patience as we do our best to keep you comfortable during the healing process.
Faithful compliance with these instructions will add to your comfort and hasten your recovery. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully. Only in this way will you avoid the complications which lead to unnecessary discomfort and delayed recovery. Should any undue reaction or complications arise, notify the office immediately.
If you need to contact us after office hours, please call the office. 
Dental Surgery Post-op Do's 
- Take it easy on the day of your surgery. If you want to lie down, and for the first night following surgery, keep your head propped up with pillows if possible to limit excess swelling and bleeding.
- Apply ice packs to your face for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off to reduce swelling.
- After the bleeding stops, you can eat soft foods. Stick to a liquid or soft food diet for the first day or two. Examples include soups, yogurts, fruit milkshakes, smoothies and mashed potatoes.
- If you’ve been given antibiotics, take them as prescribed and make sure you finish the course.
- Keep your mouth clean. While you may be advised not to rinse for the first 24 hours, after this initial period you should gently rinse four times a day using warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water). Be sure to rinse after every meal and snack, making sure that the water removes any bits of food around the surgical area. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a chlorhexidine rinse to kill bacteria and keep the mouth clean.
-Follow a balanced diet. In particular, eat foods rich in vitamins A and C, which contribute to the healing process. A vitamin C supplement may also be helpful. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), getting plenty of vitamin C is one way oral surgery patients can ensure timely recovery. 
Dental Surgery Post-Op Dont's 
- Don’t overexert yourself. Don’t bend over or do heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for two to three days after surgery.
- Avoid hot food or drinks until the numbing wears off. You cannot feel pain while you're numb, and you may burn your mouth. Also take care not to accidentally chew your cheek!
- Don’t chew hard or crunchy foods, such as carrots or popcorn, in the area of the surgery for six to eight weeks.
- Don’t brush or floss teeth in the surgical area until advised to do so by your dentist. Then, be sure to do so carefully.
- Try not to smoke for as long as possible after surgery, but at the very least for the rest of the day. Smoking can interfere with the healing process and the sucking motion can dislodge blood clots that are forming as part of the healing process.
- Avoid alcohol for 24 hours, as it can delay the healing process.

Post-Op instructions for Root Canals 

After your procedure, your Ladd Dental provider will send you home with instructions for pain management and how to care for your tooth while recovering from treatment and until a follow-up visit. Following guidelines for care is especially important if a temporary filling or crown is in place. 
As the medication used to numb your mouth during the procedure wears off, you may feel some tenderness in the area for a few days as everything heals and some mild soreness in your jaw from keeping your mouth open for an extended period during the procedure. These temporary symptoms usually respond well to over-the-counter medication but your doctor may prescribe stronger, narcotic medication as well. It’s important to carefully follow the instructions for medications and that narcotics can make you drowsy so you should exercise caution when taking them and driving a car or operating dangerous machinery.
Though you may experience a slightly different sensation from your treated tooth than your other teeth for some time, you should contact your Ladd Dental office immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: 
-    Severe pain or pressure lasting more than a few days
-    Visible swelling inside or outside your mouth
-    An allergic reaction to medication (rash, hives or itching)
-    Your bite feels uneven
-    The temporary crown or filling, if one was put in place, comes out (losing a thin layer is normal)
-    Symptoms you experienced prior to treatment return
After your procedure wait until the numbness in your mouth wears off before eating so you won’t bite your cheek or tongue. Don’t chew or bite down on the treated tooth until it is fully restored by a dentist to avoid damaging it. Remember to brush and floss daily as you normally would to keep the area clean and avoid infection.
Once your root canal and any follow up appointments are completed, you’ll need to return to your dentist for a final crown to fully restore the tooth. It’s important to make this appointment as soon as your endodontist completes work on your tooth. A properly treated and restored tooth can last as long as your natural teeth.
Take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings and be sure to return to your dentist and/or endodontist if you experience pain or swelling in the future. It’s possible for a properly treated tooth to require treatment again even years after a first procedure but often when this occurs the tooth can be saved. 


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