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Post-Operative Instructions

After undergoing a surgical procedure, you will need to carefully follow the instructions below to ensure proper healing. Should you experience prolonged pain or other discomfort, please call us at (509) 834-7289 right away.

Click the links below for post-operative instructions for your surgical procedure:


Tooth Extractions

Recovery after a tooth extraction should only last for a couple of days, but there are certain steps that you can take to speed up the healing process.

Bleeding
After your extraction, a blood clot should form in order to stop the bleeding and initiate the healing process. For this reason, you’ll be asked to bite onto a gauze pad for up to 45 minutes following the appointment. If the bleeding continues after this time period, use another gauze pad to bite firmly for an additional 30 minutes. You might need to do this several times before the bleeding stops.

The blood clot is essential in the healing process, so it is important that you don't do anything to dislodge or disrupt it. Not only will healing be delayed, but you can also cause the wound to start bleeding again. To protect the clot:
•  Don't rinse out your mouth vigorously
•  Avoid using straws when drinking for at least 72 hours
•  Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking for several days following your procedure
•  Limit exercise for the first 24 hours, as this increase in blood pressure could cause bleeding at the extraction site and may damage the clot

Pain and Swelling
After you have gone through an extraction, you will likely experience some pain and discomfort along with swelling. Try using an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in order to deal with the swelling, as you can place it along the side of your face. Swelling should usually go away within 48 hours of your procedure.

If you are prescribed any pain medication, it is important to take it as prescribed. If you notice that the medication isn't working as it was intended, feel free to call our office. You may also need to take antibiotics, and if they were prescribed, be sure to take them for the entire duration as instructed, even if your symptoms of infection go away before you’ve finished.

Other Tips for Caring for Your Mouth
Even if you are able to control the bleeding, pain, and swelling, there are a few other steps that you’ll need to take in order to promote healing:
•  Drink plenty of water and eat healthy, soft foods on the day of your procedure. Once you feel comfortable, you can return to your normal diet.
•  After 24 hours, get back into your normal dental routine. This will include daily brushing and flossing, as a clean and fresh mouth will be better prepared for quick healing.
•  Feel free to start resuming your normal activities in a day or two, depending on how you're feeling.

If you are experiencing severe pain, swelling, or heavy bleeding for 2–3 days after your procedure, or if you think you are reacting poorly to the medication you were prescribed, please call our office right away. Likewise, if your child goes through an extraction and experiences any of these symptoms, or vomiting, nausea and fever, be sure to contact us immediately.
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Mulitple Extractions

In some situations, you'll need to have multiple teeth removed from your mouth at the same time. During these procedures, you'll be asked to follow a variety of steps to keep your mouth healthy after the surgery.

Bleeding
•  Following your operation, you can expect to experience a small amount of bleeding. If this occurs, use a gauze pad and place it directly over the bleeding area. Bite down to apply pressure for up to 30 minutes. If the socket continues to bleed, moisten a tea bag and substitute this in place of the gauze pad.
•  If you do experience bleeding, avoid drinking hot liquids. Keep your head elevated and relax. Also avoid strenuous exercise.
•  If you are wearing immediate dentures, keep them in your mouth unless you are experiencing severe bleeding. You can expect that some oozing will occur around the sides of your dentures.
•  If the bleeding still continues, call our office at (509) 834-7289 for assistance.

Swelling and Discomfort
•  Use ice packs externally on the side of the face that you had the work completed on.
•  Swelling should reach its maximum after two days, and swelling may even occur around the eye.
•  Only use ice for the first 24 hours, and apply it continuously while you are awake.
•  Discoloration or bruising may occur, and applying a warm towel can help to eliminate this. Begin using moist heat 24–36 hours after surgery.
•  If you are experiencing mild pain, use an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or ibuprofen.
•  For severe pain, use any prescription medications that were recommended by your surgeon.
•  If your pain doesn't begin to get better in two days, or if it is actually getting worse two days after your procedure, call our office for guidance.

Diet and Nutrition
•  Be sure to drink plenty of water. After multiple extractions, you'll have lost blood that will need to be replaced. Be sure to drink a minimum of six glasses of water the first day after your surgery.
•  Restrict your diet to soft foods and liquids, as they will be more comfortable while you heal. As your condition improves, you'll be able to revert back to your old diet.

Caring for Your Teeth
•  On your first post-operative day, you should avoid rinsing your mouth.
•  After this first day, use warm salt water solution to rinse out the mouth every four hours and after meals. This will help to wash away debris and food particles that could get lodged in the area of operation.
•  After you've seen your dentist for your denture appointment, remove your dentures to rinse 3–4 times per day.

Other Issues
The extraction of multiple teeth at the same time is very different than simply extracting one or two teeth. Since the bone will need to be smoothed and shaped prior to inserting the denture, you may experience a sore throat. This is normal and should go away in only a couple of days. Additionally, the corners of your mouth will be stretched out during your procedure, causing them to crack and dry out. You'll need to use Chap Stick or Vaseline to correct this.

You may also experience a fever for a couple of days, and if you wear immediate dentures, sore spots could develop. In most scenarios, your dentist will check your healing progress within a day or two following your surgery, so necessary adjustments can be made to help your dentures fit more comfortably. Failure to follow up with this appointment could result in major denture sores, and this could prolong the amount of time it takes you to fully heal.
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Dental Implant Surgery

After you've had dental implant surgery, it is important that you follow a series of instructions in order to promote the best possible healing. First and foremost, avoid disturbing the wound, and to do this, you shouldn't rinse, spit, or touch the wound for the first 24 hours after surgery.

Bleeding
It is perfectly normal to experience bleeding and pink or red-colored saliva for the first 24 hours following your surgery. If you are experiencing excessive bleeding where your mouth fills up quickly with blood, you can work to control it by biting down on a gauze pad that is placed directly onto the wound. Do this for 30 minutes, and if severe bleeding continues, please call our office at (509) 834-7289 for further guidance.

Swelling
Swelling is also common after your dental implant surgery. To minimize swelling, you can apply an ice pack onto the cheek outside the area where you had your surgery. Do this as much as possible within the first 24 hours. It can also be helpful to lay with your head elevated for the first three days in order to further reduce swelling.

Pain
About four hours after your surgery, you can begin to take your pain medications. Staying ahead of the pain is important, so you should take your first dose before the local anesthetic has worn off. If you are experiencing moderate pain, Tylenol can be used every 3–4 hours, or if you prefer, you can take ibuprofen every 4–6 hours.

If you are experiencing severe pain, use your prescribed medications as directed. Never take more than recommended, and always follow the instructions outlined by your surgeon.

Diet and Nutrition
Following your surgery, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, but avoid hot liquids. Soft foods should be consumed immediately following surgery, and after the first day, you can begin to return to your normal diet unless your surgeon instructs you otherwise.

Oral Hygiene
Proper oral hygiene is crucial for healing. After your surgery, be sure to use the oral rinse that has been prescribed to you, and start using this rinse twice daily the day following your procedure. Swish with the rinse for at least 30 seconds. You can also use warm salt water rinses several times a day, especially after eating. While you can brush your teeth around the abutments as they heal, be sure to be gentle.

Activity
Immediately following surgery, you should plan to rest and keep physical activity at a minimum. If you exercise, bleeding and throbbing may occur. You should also remember that you probably are not getting adequate nourishment throughout your recovery, so trying to exercise could even be dangerous.

Wearing Your Prosthesis
You should avoid wearing your dentures or flippers right after your surgery, and keep them out of your mouth for at least 10 days post-op. Your surgeon will specify exactly when it is safe to begin wearing these appliances again.
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