Post-Operative Questions

1How soon will I recover from my oral surgery?
That is a tough question to answer, as everyone is different and every surgery is individualized. Most people feel well enough to go back to work or school after a couple of days. Some people need a few days more for recovery. Typically, single tooth extractions and placement of dental implants require at least 24-48 hours before you will feel ready to resume your daily routine. For wisdom teeth extractions, we generally expect a full recovery 3-5 days after a routine wisdom tooth or third molar extraction. For third molars that are more impacted, the recovery period is typically 5-7 days. Other more involved procedures will require additional healing time. It really does depend on the individual and the type of surgery involved.
2How long will I be swollen after surgery?
Swelling is a common part of any surgery. The swelling of the mouth and face will generally be at its peak in the first two to three days. After that the swelling will slowly go down. Generally, the swelling will be 80% resolved in five to seven days. Remember: keep using the ice packs for the first 2 days and then you can apply heat. This is also covered in your post-operative care pamphlet.
3Will I be able to eat after surgery?
Yes, you will. You will likely be tired especially if you had a general anesthetic; however, try to drink or eat something before resting. You will soon need some pain medication and it is preferable to have something in your stomach before taking it to avoid nausea. When you arrive home after surgery we encourage you to start drinking some clear liquids (e.g. water, 7-Up, ginger ale, apple juice, etc.). It is best to stay away from milk products until you are taking clear fluids well. You will probably want to have softer foods for a day or so, and nothing hot, as hot foods or liquids can stimulate bleeding. You shouldn’t baby yourself, however. The sooner you return to a normal diet, the better off your nutritional and overall health will be. If you have any other questions, be sure to refer to your Care Information Pamphlet for instructions and advice.
4What should I do if food gets in the extraction site the day of surgery since I'm not supposed to rinse the first day?
Don’t be alarmed. Your active rinsing will begin tomorrow and this will help remove any food debris that might be present. Before bedtime you can brush your teeth and when you gently rinse out the toothpaste this will likely dislodge any food from the extraction areas.
5Will I have stitches in my mouth, and will I have to return to your office to have them removed?
Not all patients will have sutures, or stitches, in their mouth after surgery. Once again, it depends on the surgery performed. If you do have sutures placed, you will likely have to return to have them removed in seven to ten days. Sometimes the doctor can use sutures that will dissolve after a period of time.
6What if I spit a stitch out a day or two after surgery?
Don’t be alarmed by this. Occasionally the stitches will loosen and be lost prematurely; however, if there is no active bleeding there is no need to replace it.
7If I feel nauseated after surgery, what should I do?
Post-operative nausea and vomiting can occur due to the after-effects of the general anesthesia as well as the prescribed medications. Treat the situation as though you have the flu, (e.g. start with sips of clear liquids like water, 7-Up, ginger-ale, apple juice). If those stay down then continue these fluids until the nausea has fully subsided. Also, it is best not to take any of the prescribed medications including the antibiotic until the nausea has passed. If after the first few sips the vomiting returns, wait 2 hours and start the fluids again. Remember, no medications during this time. If the pain is quite intense it is OK to try Tylenol or Ibuprofen; these are much less likely to precipitate nausea. If this is not resolved within the next 12 to 24 hours please call us.
8How long does somebody have to stay with me after surgery?
We strongly recommend that the patient have someone with him/her throughout the day and night of the surgery. This is particularly true if the patient has had a general anesthetic, which takes 12-24 hours to become fully metabolized, during which time the patient may feel nauseous, dizzy and even faint.
9Can I drive myself home after surgery?
If you are receiving IV sedation or general anesthesia, you will need a responsible adult to drive you. Patients receiving local anesthetic or nitrous oxide can drive home or have a driver whichever is preferred. Some people still like to have someone with them just in case they are not feeling up to driving.
10What if I think I spit a stitch out a day or two after surgery?
Don’t be alarmed by this. Occasionally the stitches will loosen and be lost prematurely; however, if there is no active bleeding there is no need to replace it.
11If I am not in pain, why do I need to return for a follow-up appointment>
A follow-up visit will ensure that healing is proceeding in the right direction. Not all patients require follow-up visits, and our doctors will determine if one is necessary for you at the time of your initial consultation. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact our offices. We will happily answer any questions you may have.

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