After Care Following Surgery
Post-operative care is essential to good healing. We are always here for you if you have questions.
Below are common questions and concerns that arise after surgery.
Returning to Normal Routines
Oral Hygiene and Exercise
Mouth cleanliness is essential to good healing. Clean your mouth thoroughly after each meal beginning the day after surgery. Brush your teeth as best you can while avoiding surgical sites with non-peroxide toothpaste. Rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water). Continue this treatment until healing is complete and you can resume all normal oral hygiene.
Keep physical activities to a minimum following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, discontinue activity. Be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. If you get light headed, stop.
Most people are able to return to light work and school following Day 4, and physical activity after one week.
Bleeding and Swelling
Placing Gauze and Using Ice
Start with Clean Gauze and Hands
Fold Gauze in Half
Fold Horizontally in Half Again
Fold Gauze Vertically to Middle
Fold Vertically Again
Front of Gauze Packing
Side of Gauze Packing
Place Gauze over Surgical Site
Bite Down Firmly to Apply Pressure
Bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes may control excessive bleeding. Repeat as necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened, black tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannins in the tea helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, stay calm, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
The swelling expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. Swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 3 days post-operatively. Swelling will be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs applied to the sides of the face of surgery, 20 minutes on/ 20 minutes off for the first 12 hours. 36 hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face may reduce swelling.
Antibiotics and Discomfort
Be sure to fill and begin the prescribed antibiotics after surgery to help prevent infection. Continue the course the indicated length of time, even when there are no signs or symptoms of infection. Only discontinue antibiotics in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction.
You should begin pain medication shortly after surgery, and only AFTER EATING. For moderate pain, Ibuprofen 200mg (Advil or Motrin) may be taken 2-3 tablets every 3-4 hours as needed. For severe pain, the prescribed medication can be used as directed.
As of October 2014, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has re-categorized products that contain hydrocodone as Schedule II drugs. This decision puts tighter controls on how these medicines can be prescribed and dispensed. Prescriptions for Vicodin, Norco, etc. are no longer allowed phoned into pharmacy, must be written from the doctor, and cannot be refilled.
Placing of Stitches
Sutures may be placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become untied or will dissolve on their own - this is not a cause for alarm.
Any sutures remaining will be removed at your post-operative appointment. The removal of sutures requires no anesthesia or needles and there is no associated discomfort.