General Surgical Instructions

Post-Surgical Instructions

1. What kind of food can I eat?
2. When is the bleeding going to stop?
3. How much discomfort should I be expecting? What can I do to minimize the discomfort?
4. How long does it take to heal up? How long should I be out of work/school?
5. Will the stitches fall out by themselves?
6. What kind of activities should I be doing/not doing?
7. When should I call the doctor if I feel that something is wrong?

1. What kind of food can I eat?
After the extractions, you should consume only liquid diet for the first week. Anything that you can swallow without chewing (anything you can put in a blender) is fine. Examples: milkshakes, Jello, pudding, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple juice, protein shake, ice cream, etc. DO NOT USE A STRAW. Into the second week, you may eat mushy solid food as tolerated. Examples: pasta, scrambled eggs, pancakes. If you start to consume regular food sooner than suggested, you may experience increased pain or possibly get infection.

2. When is the bleeding going to stop?
There is usually minimal bleeding after the extractions. The doctor usually put stitches and/or hemostatic dressing to stop bleeding. The extraction sites will look worse than they actually are. You are discharged home with gauze pack. Take one and roll into a small ball and bite down. Change every half an hour to an hour until you see a very light pink. DO NOT GO TO SLEEP WITH GAUZE IN YOUR MOUTH. Bleeding should stop after 3-4 hours after extractions. DO NOT SPIT OR GARGLE FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS. Spitting will increase bleeding. If bleeding continues more than 24 hours contact your doctor immediately.

3. How much discomfort should I be expecting? What can I do to minimize the discomfort?
Each person has different tolerance levels to pain. You cannot use another family member or friend as reference to gauge how much discomfort you might experience. In general the most swelling and discomfort will peak in 3-4 days after the procedure. The delayed swelling is sometimes mistaken as infection but it is part of the normal healing process. During this time the swelling may prevent your mouth to open all the way. The best way to minimize discomfort is follow the instructions that you are given. Do not alter the dosage and the frequency of the medication without discussing with the doctor. You may use ice packs on the face the first few days after the procedures to decrease the swelling. You must NOT smoke for 2 weeks after the extractions. The inhaling action of smoking causes “dry socket” which is extremely painful. Smoking also increases inflammation and delays healing.

4. How long does it take to heal up? How long should I be out of work/school?
The surgical sites will take a few weeks to completely heal up. However you should gradually return to normal function within one to two weeks. You might notice a small “hole” in the area of the extraction. It will fill in with normal tissue in time. We recommend that you be out of work or school for one full week, especially if you have wisdom teeth or multiple teeth extracted. Into the second week you might still have residual discomfort but most of the people return to daily activities.

5. Will the stitches fall out by themselves?
Most of the time the doctor will put in resorbable stitches. They do resorb slowly in time but more often the stitches soften up and break one by one. Most of the time the doctor will put in more stitches than needed. The motion of the mouth (eating, talking) can loosen the stitches. If the stitches do fall out and there’s no bleeding not to worry. It can take a few days up to 2-3 weeks for the stitches to fall out.

6. What kind of activities should I be doing/not doing?
You should “lay low” for one to two weeks. Minimal activities with bed rest are recommended. You should drink lots of fluids during this time. Do not work out at the gym or play sports activities for at least 3 weeks. It is important especially after the wisdom teeth extractions because the procedure can weaken the jaw. Any impact to the jaw can subject the jaw to fracture even after the procedure.

If you have received anesthesia for your surgical procedure; You must be observed and/or accompanied by another responsible adult person on the day of the procedure. If you received narcotic medications as prescriptions, you must not drive or operate any machinery as long as you are on the medications. You must not consume alcoholic beverages during this period.

If you have top back molars taken out: these teeth often have roots extending into sinus. It is important NOT to blow your nose for at least one week in order to prevent sinus infection.

7. When should I call my doctor if I feel that something is wrong?
You should notify your doctor right away if:
– bleeding is profuse (choking on blood)
– bleeding is continuous (still changing bright red gauze after 24 hours)
– severe pain not well controlled by medications
– rash, hives or difficulty breathing after taking the medications that suggest an allergic reactions
– persistant fever lasting more than 24 hours
– discharge coming out from the surgical site