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Postoperative Instructions After Tooth Extraction / Bone Grafting

These instructions will help you to understand the expected postoperative condition and explain the recommended care while you are healing.

Caring for the Extraction Socket

Tooth extraction sockets that are not grafted are open and tend to bleed. Grafted sockets are closed with sutures and covered with a layer of adhesive. This helps to minimize bleeding. However, a small amount of oozing is normal.

It is important to try to keep the adhesive layer in place as long as possible; at least 7-10 days. This will allow healing of the tissues under the adhesive layer to eventually cover up the graft material.

Diet

To keep the adhesive layer in place, it is important not to disturb the surgical site with eating or tongue movements. Maintain a liquid and soft, non-chew, diet for the first week. Eat only on the side of your mouth opposite from the surgical site. Do not use drinking straws as the suction created may disturb the surgical site. Try not to move or touch the adhesive layer with your tongue as this may dislodge the protective layer.

Swelling

After tooth removal, it is normal to have some swelling of the surgical area and the adjacent facial tissues. Some patients may also experience bruising (black and blue) of the facial and neck skin.

The maximum swelling occurs during the first 24 hours after the procedure. It then starts to slowly recede over the next 5 -7 days. To minimize the swelling, place ice packs over the affected area 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for the rest of the day. It is not necessary to sleep with the ice pack. After the first 24 hours, it is not necessary to continue the cold application.

It is also recommended you elevate your head at night and sleep on a few extra pillows. This will decrease some blood flow to your head and neck region and also help to limit swelling.

Postoperative Discomfort

After removal of teeth, it is normal to experience some amount of discomfort when the anesthesia wears off. The medication prescribed, taken as directed, should alleviate the postoperative pain and discomfort. Do not operate a motor vehicle or machinery while taking pain medication. It can make you drowsy.

Infection

After surgical procedures, there is always a chance that an infection might develop. This does not happen in most cases. After procedures that have a higher incidence of post-operative infection, a prescription for antibiotics may be given. Please take this medication as directed until it is finished. Women taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills) please note: penicillin and penicillin-like drugs temporarily decrease the effectiveness of the birth control pills. Other methods of contraception are recommended while taking these antibiotics.

Oral Hygiene

After an extraction procedure it is all right to brush your teeth. However, please avoid the area around the surgical site for 4-5 days. Gentle rinsing with water or salt water is recommended. Avoid vigorous swishing and forceful rinsing as this may dislodge the adhesive layer and blood clot.

Smoking may impair healing of oral wounds. It is recommended that patients not smoke during the healing period.

Warning Signs

If any of the following should occur, contact us during the day at (847) 272-9516, or during the evening or night call (847) 272-9516 and ask the answering service to page your doctor on call.

  • Bleeding which cannot be controlled by biting firmly on gauze for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Pain which is not alleviated by the prescribed dose of medication. Do Not experiment with higher doses.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • An increase in swelling after the first 48 hours, or swelling which interferes with swallowing.
  • A very foul-tasting discharge that is unrelieved by normal oral hygiene.
  • Fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other Instructions

If you have received I.V. sedation for your procedure, you should rest at home with moderate activity as tolerated.

For the next 24 hours:

  • Do Not drive a car, operate machinery or power tools.
  • Do Not drink any alcoholic beverages including beer.
  • Do Not engage in any athletic sport activities, such as, basketball, jogging, etc.

Questions or Problems

If you feel that you are experiencing any problems or have any questions, please call either Dr. Nickel or Dr. Steinberg at (847) 272-9516. On weekends or after hours this number transfers to the answering service and the “on call” doctor will be contacted.

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