Sometimes the after-effects of dental procedures are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office at (713) 665-9200 for clarification.
DAY OF PROCEDURE
First hour: Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the extraction areas, making sure they remain in place. The packs may be gently removed after 30 minutes. If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the extraction site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30–45 minutes), but often no additional gauze packs are required.
Exercise care: Do not disturb the procedure area today. Do not rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. You may brush your teeth gently. Please do not smoke for at least 48 hours, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.
Oozing: Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. Bleeding may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for 30–45 minutes at a time. The ooze may look more impressive than it really is because it is mixed with your saliva. Do not be alarmed. This is normal.
Persistent bleeding: Bleeding should never be severe. Try repositioning the packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in very hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes. Ice water rinses can also help. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.
Swelling: Swelling is often associated with oral dental procedures. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag, or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the extraction area. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 24 hours after the extraction. The swelling usually begins on the day after surgery and is at its maximum at 3–4 days. The swelling will then subside over the next 2–3 days.
Pain: Unfortunately, dental procedures can be accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better. Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced. The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. Some patients may even require 2 of the pain pills at one time. Remember that the most severe pain is usually within the first 12 hours after the local anesthetic wears off. After that, your need for medicine should lessen. If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office. If you anticipate needing more prescription medication for the weekend, we appreciate your making every effort to call for a refill during weekday business hours. In the unlikely situation that you need a prescription over the weekend, please call our regular office number, and the answering service can get you in touch with Dr. Iero or the nurse on call.