Postoperative Instructions

We can provide post-operative instructions in Chinese, French, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Spanish on request.

Swelling, Bruising & Discomfort
Swelling, bruising, and discomfort usually occur following surgery. Considerable swelling of the face and neck may occur. Swelling may increase for 48 hours, then gradually subside over approximately one week. Bruising of the neck and chest may occur. Do not apply heat to the face. Ice packs may be utilized at intervals of 15 minutes for the first 8 hours. If symptoms have not improved by the fourth day, please contact our office.

Limited Mouth Opening
This standard protective mechanism usually occurs following oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Temperature Elevation
A temperature increase to 102°F or 39°C is common for 1 to 2 days after surgery. If your temperature goes higher than this, please call our office.

Stitches are used to control bleeding. They will dissolve over 5 to 10 days. After five days, if a small piece of suture is hanging, you can try to remove it or cut it shorter.

A small amount of redness mixed with saliva is normal after surgery. If you have a flow of blood or if bleeding persists, look in the mirror to determine the source of the bleeding, then place a gauze pad or a fresh, moist tea bag wrapped in gauze over the bleeding spot. Bite on this and, at the same time, apply light pressure to the side of the face with the palm for half an hour. Repeat if necessary. If there is still a flow of blood, please notify our office. Once bleeding has stopped, remove the gauze and do not replace it.

Spitting and Smoking
Do not spit, smoke, or use a straw. Smoking should be avoided as it can complicate the healing process. There is a much higher incidence of dry sockets in patients who smoke post-operatively. Dry socket is extremely painful. The #1 cause of a dry socket is smoking, even if only a few cigarettes are smoked daily.

General Anaesthesia & Sedation
After general anaesthesia or sedation, it is normal to be drowsy and poorly coordinated for several hours. Stay home and rest for the remainder of the day. Do not drive, sign any legal documents, or drink alcohol for 24 hours.

Nausea may occur after an anaesthetic or from some medicines. If this happens, Gravol may be purchased without a prescription. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Flat cola may also alleviate nausea. You must keep up with your fluid intake despite nausea, or you may get dehydrated quickly. Drink small amounts at a time frequently.

Oral Hygiene
Rinsing of the mouth should be started very gently on the day after surgery, as vigorous rinsing can disturb the healing process. Rinsing can become more robust as healing progresses. Rinse with either ¼ teaspoon of salt or baking soda in ½ glass of warm water, 5 to 6 times per day for one week. Begin brushing your teeth 24 hours after surgery and when comfortable to do so. Lubricate your lips with Vaseline or any bland ointment.

After surgery, your jaw may be stiff, or your throat could be sore, so it will be difficult to eat. It is, however, essential to have something to eat and drink after surgery. You will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort, and heal faster if you eat and drink regularly.

You will be able to eat soft foods such as scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, custard, chowder, apple sauce, yogurt, ice cream, and Jello. You may also drink soups such as chicken or beef broth. Consume water, fruit and vegetable juices, liquid nutritional supplements (i.e., Ensure). Drink as much as you can to prevent dehydration. Avoid hot temperature food and drinks after surgery until the local anaesthesia has worn off, as this may cause you to burn your tongue and the inside of your mouth.

Take the medications prescribed by your surgeon as directed on the bottle. Your pain medicine should keep you reasonably comfortable and is best taken with fluid or food in your stomach. For mild pain, Aspirin, Advil, or Tylenol may be used. Narcotic or prescription pain medicine may cause some dizziness. Do not drive or use hazardous machinery while taking narcotics. Antibiotics should be taken until the full prescription is used. For nausea or stomach upset Gravol can be taken with your medication. Flat cola may also alleviate nausea. If a rash, severe stomach cramps, or diarrhea occur, stop taking your medicine and call our office.

Females who are taking birth control pills and antibiotics at the same time should know that the combination of these two drugs may cause birth control pills to become ineffective as a contraceptive method. Pregnancy may occur if alternative methods of birth control are not used for the remainder of that menstrual cycle.

The Codeine in pain medicine can be constipating. If this occurs, a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia may be taken.

Patients will be given as many post-operative appointments as necessary to ensure that healing proceeds normally.