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  • Writer's pictureDr. Taoufiq Bensouda

Postoperative Recommendations

Advice to follow after undergoing surgery

Whether the surgery involves a simple tooth extraction, removal of an impacted tooth or a complex surgical operation, below is some advice you can follow at home to lessen and perhaps even avoid postoperative complications. They should be followed scrupulously to promote healing. After any surgery, some discomfort and swelling should be expected.

  • Bite softly into cotton compresses placed in your mouth, applying constant pressure for 45 to 60 minutes. Change compresses every half hour, as necessary. After you remove the compresses, if you notice that there is still a substantial amount of blood, you can use new compresses (or teabags you have wet and wrung out). Bite into them for another 45 to 60 minutes, applying constant pressure. Repeat as necessary. Slight bleeding is normal after surgery. Even if your saliva is bloody, don’t worry.

  • Avoid eating until the bleeding stops. For the first 24 hours, do not rinse out your mouth or spit, drink with a straw, use mouthwash, smoke or exercise. Also, try and keep your head higher than the rest of your body when you sleep. That will help lessen the swelling and bleeding.

  • If you are no longer bleeding after 24 hours, rinse out your mouth five to six times a day with salt water (1 ml or 1/4 teaspoon in 250 ml or 8 onces of water), especially after each meal.

  • If the bleeding persists after 24 hours in an abnormal way call your dentist.

  • It is normal to feel discomfort for 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. The degree of discomfort will depend on the individual and the type of surgery. To ease your discomfort, take the prescribed painkillers, at least on the first day. If you don’t feel the need to take more on the following day, take a less powerful analgesic but avoid drugs containing aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).

  • If antibiotics were prescribed for you, always take all of the pills to effectively control infection.

  • Swelling may occur after your surgery. To prevent or lessen swelling, it is recommended that you apply ice cubes wrapped in a damp towel as soon as possible after the surgery. However do this for no more than fifteen minutes an hour and only in the first 24 hours, and it certainly shouldn’t keep you from sleeping, because sleep is necessary to heal quickly. After 48 hours, if there is swelling, apply warm compresses.

  • It is possible that moving your jaw may be somewhat painful after the surgery. In some cases, this may last from 7 to 10 days. If this is the case, don’t try harder to chew but change your diet instead. Eat softer and lukewarm foods on the first day and then more solid foods progressively in the days that follow. Call your dentist.

  • Brush your teeth as you normally would but be sure not to irritate the area that is healing.

Speedy recovery !


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