patient advice following oral surgery

Van der walt dental - teeth whiteningBLEEDING: Bleeding MAY occur in the first 24 - 48 hours following third molar extractions if you continue to spit, smoke, drink alcohol, touch the wounds with your fingers or toothbrush, eat hot foods, and exercise.  To minimize the likelihood of bleeding, sleep with your head elevated on several pillows, avoid smoking and alcohol, do not start vigorous mouth rinses until the day after surgery and ensure you get plenty of rest.  If bleeding starts, roll up a clean gauze or handkerchief, moisten it under warm water and place it along your cheeks until it is over the extraction site and bite firmly on it for 30 minutes.  If bleeding continues, replace the gauze with a new one and bite on it for a further 30 minutes.

SWELLING: Swelling does not often occur after simple tooth extractions but is quite NORMAL after difficult third molar extractions, especially in cases where drilling and stitching are required to remove the tooth or tooth roots.  Maximum swelling occurs 24 - 36 hours after the extraction and gradually disappears after 5 - 6 days. The more difficult the extraction, the greater the swelling will become.

BRUISING: Bruising MAY occur in some people as the swelling subsides and is again a not too uncommon occurrence following third molar extractions.  It gradually disappears by 7 - 10 days.

DISCOMFORT: Pain and discomfort do not often occur after simple extractions but may arise after difficult extractions where drilling and stitches are used.  The intensity of the discomfort depends on the difficulty and the time it takes to remove the third molars.  It is worse during the first 2 -3 days after surgery and should gradually subside thereafter. Strong painkillers will be prescribed which should be taken at regular intervals as written on the packet especially during the first 3 days. As the pain decreases, it is best to change to simple paracetamol.  The need for painkillers usually stops about 5 days after difficult extractions.

INFECTION: Infection following third molar surgery is UNCOMMON. If it does occur, it often presents 7 - 10 days after surgery as increased pain, swelling and foul discharge in the mouth. In some cases, antibiotics will have already been prescribed after surgery to prevent infection. It is important that you finish the whole course even if there are no problems.

STITCHES: Dissolving stitches are used.  These disappear gradually over a period of 5 -7 days. If they fall out earlier than this, do not worry, provided there is no persistent bleeding, the stitches have done their job.

ORAL HYGIENE: Please remember to begin mouth rinses at least 6 hours after the extraction and not before so as not to disturb the initial blood clot.  Meticulous mouth care and cleanliness is VITAL to rapid healing and prevention of nasty infections.  Brushing will be difficult during the first few days so rinse your mouth with warm salt water mouth washes and antiseptic (colgate savacol original) mouthwash prescribed at least 4 times daily, especially after meals.  When rinsing you mouth, keep the mouthwash over the extraction site for at least 1 minute to help kill the germs and clear the accumulated food debris.

DIET: Your diet will need to be restricted to soft foods for up to 7 days or until the swelling and discomfort eventually subside.  Thereafter a gradual return to normal diet is advised. REMEMBER to rinse you mouth immediately after each meal.

WORK: A medical certificate will be provided to cover the day of the surgery and any other days the Dentist deems necessary for the recovery before returning to normal duties.