These instructions apply to the surgical procedure just completed. They are designed to help you minimize post-surgical discomfort and inform you of any situation that may require special attention.
It is not unusual to have discomfort for at least the first week following your surgical procedure, though for most procedures and most patients the first night, and first 2-3 days will have the worst pain/discomfort. You will be given a prescription for a narcotic medication to help you tolerate the post-surgical recovery period. Please take your medications as directed, and as needed. It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result. Narcotics may also cause constipation, so please be sure to eat properly and drink liquids.
As an alternative to prescription medications, some patients have found a combination of over-the-counter ibuprofen and acetaminophen to be effective, taken every 4-6 hours as needed. For most procedures, most patients report 2-3 ibuprofen( Motrin or Advil) or 1-2 extra-strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) is adequate to control pain. If you cannot tolerate aspirin or other NSAID’s (like ibuprofen or naproxen), or your physician has advised against your using these drugs, use acetaminophen for pain control.
Icing the face over the surgical site may also help alleviate discomfort.
Remember: you do not heal better or faster if you are having pain, so take the medication you need to stay ahead of it, but you don’t need to take anything if you’re not having pain/discomfort!
Note: When taking any prescribed medication containing Acetaminophen (Tylenol), i.e.; Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicoden or Tylenol with Codeine, you should not take additional Acetaminophen so as not to exceed the safety level of Acetaminophen. Please contact the office with any questions you may have.
Please alert the office to any allergies or sensitivities that you might have to antibiotics. An antibiotic may be prescribed following your surgical procedure. Take as directed until gone. It is advisable not to take these medications on an empty stomach, as nausea may result. For women taking birth control pills, be advised that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness.
If you are taking an antibiotic and develop abdominal pain and/or diarrhea or frequent, loose bowel movements stop taking the antibiotic and call to speak with the doctor.
Similarly, if you develop a rash stop taking the medication and call the office. If you develop more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swallowing (which are signs of much less common but more severe allergic reaction) call 911 or get to an emergency room and call the doctor asap.
Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and will typically increase up to 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack over the outside cheek area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Continue using ice for 2-3 days following the procedure as often as possible. Icing the face over the surgical site may also help alleviate discomfort, even after the first 3 days.
A small amount of bleeding is normal. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:
- Do not rinse your mouth.
- Elevate your head when lying down.
- Apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary.
- Place a moistened tea bag over the surgical site and apply pressure for 20 minutes.
- Call the office if bleeding persists.
The dressing (which acts as a bandage and is only used for certain procedures) is used to protect the surgical site and help reduce discomfort. If the dressing comes off or is uncomfortable, please call the office for direction.
Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. A soft diet is recommended. Foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and fruits are more easily eaten. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing, so if you cannot consume regular foods be sure to use a liquid nutritional supplement to ensure adequate nutrition.
Do not smoke for at least 2 weeks following your surgical procedure. It will significantly slow healing and can compromise results.
Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.
Do not rinse vigorously for the first 24 hours. After that, you may use a mouthwash once or twice/day. Rinse with warm salt water frequently to help keep the area clean. It will also help to feel more comfortable.
Do not brush the surgical site. You may resume normal brushing/flossing in other areas of your mouth.
You may notice increased discomfort 3-4 days after the surgical procedure. As the tissues begin to heal, they may pull against the sutures and dressing. You may choose to take some form of pain medication one hour prior to your suture removal appointment to minimize tenderness. If you are a patient for whom Antibiotic Pre-Medication is required, take the prescribed antibiotics 1 hour prior to your suture removal appointment.
Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at 212.838.0940.