POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
1. Continue to maintain firm pressure on the gauze pad covering the surgical site or sites for 30 minutes after you leave the office, at which time you may remove and discard the gauze. Some continued bleeding is to be expected and should be ignored- if bleeding is persistent or appears to be excessive you may replace the gauze pads with the new ones as instructed by the doctor. If you do so, remember that the new gauze should be left in place undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove the gauze before eating or drinking.
2. If you were given a cold pack, place it in the freezer upon arriving home. Re-apply it after about 20 minutes, then follow “20 minute- on and 20 minute- off” schedule for 4 to 6 hours. This is to allow the skin surface to re-warm.
3. You may eat after initial gauze pads have been removed, but avoid hot foods or drinks until the numbness of the local anesthetic has worn off. You should eat before you take any medications that might have been prescribed – in most cases a “long lasting” local anesthetic has been used so there is adequate time for you to eat prior to beginning medication for pain. For the first 24 hours after surgery, it might be wise to have only soft foods or liquids (AVOID SIPPING THROUGH STRAWS).
4. Oral hygiene is extremely important after oral surgery – it will reduce the risk of infection. It will also promote healing and make you more comfortable. Do not brush teeth or rinse until tomorrow. The morning after surgery begin rinsing with warm salt water (1/2 tsp salt mixed in 8oz glass of lukewarm water), and do so four to six times a day, EVERY DAY UNTIL YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT. Continue with normal homecare routine, you should brush your teeth. Continue frequent daily rinsing until your post-operative appointment. Do not smoke for at least 48 hours.
5. Swelling, bruising, or discoloration (‘black & blue’) and difficulty opening the mouth are expected. This may be pronounced, especially after extensive surgery such as apicoectomy or the removal of impacted teeth. Swelling usually reaches in maximum 48 hours after surgery and resolves over the next 48 hours.
6. If medications have been prescribed take them as instructed. Do not discontinue antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications without consulting the doctor.
7. Do not hesitate to call the office at any time if you have questions or problems concerning your post-operative care. The telephone number is (212) 396-8103. We have a 24-hours-a-day, 7-day-a-week answering service; if the office is closed they will have one of the doctors return your call.