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HOW TO CARE FOR SURGICAL WOUNDS AND WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING WISDOM TEETH SURGERY

BLEEDING

After wisdom tooth surgery, you can experience slight bleeding, oozing, or reddish saliva when you spit. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by wiping or rinsing old blood clots from the mouth, then putting gauze over the area and biting down firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding persists, bite into a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. When dampened with water, the teabag releases tannic acid that helps form a clot by narrowing the blood vessels. To minimize further bleeding, don’t get upset, sit up straight, and avoid exercising. If the bleeding does not go away, contact the clinic soon.

SWELLING

The swelling customarily expected is typically proportional to the affected surgical site. Swelling around the mouth, sides of the face, cheeks, and eyes are not unusual. It happens due to the body’s normal reaction to surgery and any repairs. The swelling may not be apparent or felt 1 to 2 days after the surgery. In most cases, puffiness and swelling peak after 3 to 5 days of surgery. However, you can minimize swelling by using ice packs. You need to apply a plastic bag filled with ice or ice packs on the side of the jaw near the surgical wound. Ice packs should be put on the face most times while awake, much as you can tolerate them. The ice packs have no beneficial effect after 36 hours. If the swelling or stiffness of the jaw has persisted for several days, there is no reason to be alarmed. It is a normal reaction to surgery. Thirty-six hours (3 days) after surgery, applying moist heat (warm compress) to the sides of the face helps shrink the size of the inflammation.

PAIN

To control moderate pain, you can take one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol every 4 hours. Another pain killer is Ibuprofen 200 mg tablets (Advil or Motrin) —- you can take it as an alternative every 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or when needed. Be sure to check if you have known allergies to these meds.

We will prescribe another pain killer to protect you from severe pain if we consider they can help manage the discomfort better. Be sure to follow the dose recommendation. Be wary when taking other prescription pain killers, as they can make patients feel groggy and slow down their reflexes. You must refrain from working around machinery or avoid driving automobiles. Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Do not worry because any discomfort and pain post-operatively are expected to subside a few days after. You can always reach us for further help and care. Patients who underwent third molar removal should discontinue smoking cigarettes as they can significantly impede healing.

ANTIBIOTICS

We usually prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection. Be sure to let us know any known allergies you have to these antibiotics or in case you are taking other medications and supplements. If rashes or unfavorable reactions appear, discontinue using them and call the clinic immediately.

DIET

After surgical removal of wisdom teeth, patients must first eat a soft diet. When eating a soft or regular diet, be careful and chew away from the surgical site. High calorie, high protein intake is necessary for vigor and nourishment. Try not to skip meals to feel better soon, have more strength, and have less discomfort. You will heal faster if you continue to eat healthy foods.

You must drink water and increase fluid intake for at least 5 to 6 glasses after wisdom tooth surgery. Taking the necessary fluids will keep you hydrated while recuperating.

Patients are instructed to drink directly from the glass and not use straws. The force from the sucking with straws tends to dislodge the blood clots and cause more bleeding.

Caution: After wisdom tooth removal and even tooth extractions, other patients reported that they felt dizzy after suddenly sitting up or standing from a lying position. If you are lying down, we advise that you sit for one minute before standing or merely sitting up.

KEEP THE MOUTH CLEAN

Be careful in brushing your teeth the night later to your surgery. Just rinse gently, not vigorously. You can rinse at least 5 to 6 times a day the following day. Do this after eating soft foods or liquid diets. Common homemade mouth rinse: warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Likewise, we will be prescribing you mouthwash to use. Still, you can do that the day after the wisdom tooth removal procedure.

DISCOLORATION

In a few patients, discoloration of the skin happens after the swelling phase. The characteristic bruising manifests as blue, black, yellow, or green discoloration due to blood spreading below the tissues. This skin mark is a likely post-operative appearance, which may occur 2-3 days post-surgically. You can apply moist heat (warm compress) to the area to speed up the removal of the bruising.

NAUSEA AND VOMITING

Should vomiting and nausea happen following surgery, do not eat or drink anything for at least an hour, even the prescribed medicine. It would be best if you then sip on coke, tea, or ginger ale. It would help if you sipped unhurriedly over a fifteen-minute time. When nausea settles down, you can start taking solid foods and continue with the prescribed medications.

OTHER COMPLICATIONS

  • No need to feel stressed should you feel numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue. As stated before surgery, such numbness is usually temporary. So you have to be cautious if your lip or tongue is numb, as you could bite on them not feeling the sensation.
  • That feverish feeling following surgery is not unusual. But you can check your body temperature once in a while. If you experience real fever, Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help lower your temperature.
  • Be alert when lying down to a standing position, especially if you had no food and liquid intake before the surgery. It can be pretty challenging to swallow up on liquids. Taking pain medications can make you lightheaded or feel dizzy as you could get unsteady when you stand up quickly. We reiterate that you should sit for at least one minute before getting up to avoid falling or getting out of balance.
  • Seldom patients may sense hard projections in the mouth with their tongue. They are not roots of the tooth. They are the bony edges that support the tooth. These projections usually smooth out every so often. If not, our dentist can remove them.
  • If the corners of your mouth are strained and stretched out for too long during the surgery, they may dry out and crack. You can use vaseline or lip balm to keep your lips moist.
  • Sore throats and pain sometimes arise that can make swallowing uncomfortable. Because muscles around or near the wound site get swollen, the regular act of ingesting food or liquids can then turn out painful, which can subside in 2 to 3 days.
  • Difficulty opening your mouth following oral surgery can be experienced infrequently. Another post-operative event that slowly resolves after that is muscle stiffness (trismus of the jaw), which is not a big issue.

FINALLY

The dentist or the dental surgeon usually puts stitches or sutures to fasten the surgical wound – this will help minimize post-operative bleeding and assist healing. Sometimes they end up getting dislodged. Nothing is to be worried about if this happens. Just get rid of the sutures and discard them. You can come back to the clinic a week after wisdom tooth surgery for suture removal. We can quickly remove sutures in a minute or so without the need for anesthesia.

The swelling and pain should diminish a few days gradually following the surgery. But if the post-operative swelling and pain gets worst or you experience unusual symptoms, feel free to call the clinic for further instructions.

It is just okay to feel a cavity or a hole in the area where the dentist removed the wisdom tooth. The said hole will gradually be filled in with new tissues over the next few weeks or months. For the moment, you can keep the area clean after each meal by gentle toothbrushing, using warm salt rinses, or the prescribed mouthwash.

Do not compare your case with the other because no two mouths are the same. Hold back from the well-intended advice of friends or family members who have not received the same procedure. Discuss any problem you might encounter because we had a hand on the surgical procedure; hence, we knew them better. We are the persons best able to help you effectively.

Brush your teeth as usual –but be gentle at the surgical sites.

A dry socket comes about when a blood clot dislodges prematurely from the wound socket. Patients can feel pain symptoms at the surgical site and even pain radiating to the ear 2-3 days following surgery. Let us know soon if ever this happens.

If you are engaged in regular exercise, be concerned that you are eating less and are taking below the regular food intake you are used to having. Exercise may weaken you. If you get lightheaded, stop exercising.

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