Your Questions Answered!

Once the surgical site bleeding has been controlled by holding pressure against gauze packs, eating and drinking are ok. Start with cold, semi-solid foods that can be eaten with a spoon.
The consistency and variety of foods can gradually be increased after surgery as tolerated.

Change the gauze every twenty minutes or so, or when the gauze becomes saturated with saliva. Take the gauze out to eat, and then replace it after eating if bleeding is still occurring.

Once you have been able to eat, start taking the antibiotic and pain medication as prescribed.

Most of the time, the suture material used in oral surgery is self-dissolving. It is ok if the suture comes loose the day after surgery.

Dry socket refers to the loss of the blood clot from the tooth removal site. It typically occurs 3-5 days after surgery and is characterized by pain that seems constant and does not get better with the passage of time.  Treatment consists of placement of medicated packing into the site where the blood clot was lost. This packing needs to be removed after 2-3 days.

Bleeding after wisdom tooth surgery is to be expected and may continue off and on for 24-48 hours after surgery. If the bleeding is bothersome, place the gauze pack and hold pressure for 20-30 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.

It is normal for food debris to accumulate in tooth extraction sites the first few days after surgery. For the first few days, gentle mouth rinsing is the best choice. At about 1 week after surgery, you will be given a curved tip syringe and instructed on how to use with water to clear food debris. Using the syringe too early after tooth removal may disrupt the blood clot that is forming in the tooth extraction site.

In general, smoking should be minimized or avoided as long as possible after having oral surgery. The combination of heat, chemicals and nicotine can negatively affect healing and increase the possibility of dry socket or infection, leading to further treatment. For dental implant patients, smoking is associated with an increased risk of dental implant failure.

If you are taking the pain medication as prescribed and it is not effective, call the office for advice. The strength or type of medication may need to be changed.

Ice packs should be applied, if they have been recommended, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, or on alternating sides of the face every twenty minutes. This should be done while awake, and for as much as possible for the first 48 hours after surgery.

If you have had a single tooth removed or dental implant placed, 48 hours of rest after the procedure is adequate. If you have had wisdom teeth removed or had a more extensive surgery, wait 5 days before resuming normal workouts or getting in the pool or ocean. Resolution of pain and swelling after surgery varies with individuals, so after 5 days if exercise is still uncomfortable, wait until the discomfort resolves before resuming full workouts.

When a tooth is removed, there is naturally a hole in the gum tissue and bone of the jaw. This hole fills with blood, which then clots. The blood clot will gradually turn in to bone and new gum tissue. The gum tissue will close over completely by 3-4 weeks post procedure. The bone takes a few months to completely heal in.

If you have had local anesthesia, your soft plate and/or tongue may be numb. This leads to a sensation of not being able to swallow. However, it is mostly the sensation of the tongue or palate that is affected and not the function. With a little effort, swallowing can be done while still numb and will return to normal, once the local anesthesia wears off.

Tooth brushing can be done around the surgical site with attention paid to not causing pain or bleeding at the surgical site.  It is best to start tooth brushing near the surgical site the day after surgery, when the bleeding has been controlled.

Wait 24 hours or so and until the bleeding is controlled before starting mouth rinsing. Mouth rinsing during active bleeding will tend to keep the bleeding active.

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