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Surgical Instructions - Columbia Dental Care & Associates

A patient checklist for before and after your procedure

Columbia Dental Care & Associates wants its patients to be comfortable and informed during every step of the treatment process. We want our patients to be prepared for their procedure and encourage them to ask questions about the treatments they will be receiving. The following is a starting point for patients who want more information about their procedure and the process Columbia Dental Care & Associates will be following. It may help patients to put together a list of questions that they want answered during their consultation.

PAIN

Most patients will experience some degree of discomfort or pain as the anesthesia begins to wear off. Columbia Dental Care & Associates recommends that you begin taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication once you're home. Medications such as Advil/Ibuprofen/Motrin/Aleve can be taken as directed (usually 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours). If you are unable to take anti-inflammatory medications, take Tylenol or acetaminophen as directed on the bottle (usually 650 mg to 1,000 mg every 6 hours). If pain continues, take any prescribed pain medication as directed. All pain medications could cause nausea and vomiting, so follow instructions and try to eat before taking.

Don't wait for pain to become unbearable before using a pain medication. Waiting too long will only make it more difficult to get the pain under control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 24 to 72 hours, and will usually peak on the third post-operative day. You should begin to feel relief by the fourth day following surgery.

BLEEDING

Oozing or minor bleeding from a surgical site is common. Some bleeding may continue for at least 24 hours. To prevent bleeding, bite on a gauze sponge for 30 minutes to keep firm pressure on the surgical site. Once the oozing has slowed, try to avoid placing gauze or any other irritant near the surgical site. This will lead to continued bleeding and discomfort. Biting on a moist tea bag wrapped in gauze could also help control any persistent oozing.

If active bleeding should recur, carefully rinse your mouth with cold water and apply a fresh gauze sponge to the site. Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes usually controls the problem. Should active bleeding persist, call Columbia Dental Care & Associates immediately and a member of our surgical team will get back to you as soon as possible.

THE SURGICAL SITE

Expedite healing by allowing the soft tissues to rest. That means no vigorous chewing, excessive spitting or rinsing for the first 24 hours. Any of those activities could cause active bleeding to begin again which could cause an infection to be introduced.

AVOID USING A STRAW to drink liquids. The suction could cause the blood clot to be dislodged. No smoking at all. Smoking can slow healing and contribute to a possible infection.
Do not worry about the stitches if they start to come loose. The sutures will dissolve in 5 to 7 days and should not require removal.

SWELLING

Some swelling will develop during the first 12 to 24 hours following surgery, often peaking on the third post-operative day. There should be no visible swelling by the fourth day. Placing an ice pack on the affected side at 30-minute intervals during the first 48 hours after surgery will reduce swelling. Any swelling, soreness, or stiffness in the jaw muscles can be relieved by applying a warm moist towel to the affected side of the face several times a day.

ACTIVITY

Limit activity for the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery. Bleeding and discomfort can be caused by excessive exertion. Elevate your head at a 45-degree angle when you rest.
Do not drive for 24 hours following surgery, especially if you had an anesthesia or if you're taking a prescription pain medication.

DIET

FLUID INTAKE IS MANDATORY. Columbia Dental Care & Associates suggests clear liquid beverages such as water, ginger ale, 7-Up, or Sprite during the first 24 hours. Graduate to soft foods and other fluids as your wound heals. Avoid hot liquids until the anesthesia has worn off and the bleeding has stopped.
FOOD SELECTION is largely a matter of choice. Soft, cool foods that require little chewing are most easily tolerated.

ORAL HYGIENE

Warm salt water rinses (1/4 teaspoon table salt with a small cup of water) should be used to clean your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery. Rinse in the same manner three times daily for one week. LIGHTLY BRUSH your teeth, being careful not to irritate the surgical site.

YOUR MEDICATIONS

Unless advised by your dentist, take all medications as scheduled. Patients who take blood-thinners (i.e., Coumadin) should restart those medications as directed following surgery unless there is continued bleeding.