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Instructions following Oral Surgery

The easiest way to avoid problems after an extraction is to keep your mouth clean.

Pain: Oral surgical procedures can be painful. You should expect a moderate degree of discomfort for 2-3 days, which can be controlled by routine painkillers.

Swelling: There will be a degree of swelling of your gums and cheek in the area. This is your body’s response to the procedure. There may also be some bruising on your face and jaw stiffness when trying to open widely. All these are normal and usually resolve after 2-3 days.

Food: You should have a soft diet for 2-3 days (soup, rice, weetabix etc) which should be eaten away from the wound. You should wait until the numbness has worn off before you eat anything.

Smoking: Avoid smoking if you can for at least four hours after the procedure. Smoking tends to delay healing and predispose to post-operative infection.

You should keep your mouth meticulously clean after an extraction. The best way to do this is by rinsing with a warm, salty mouthwash a few times a day, particularly after a meal.

Stitches: You may have some stitches in your mouth afterwards. This is to hold the gums together to aid speedy healing. They are dissolvable and usually disappear after a week or two.

Bleeding: Do expect a bit of oozing (red saliva) after the extraction. This is normal. If there is active bleeding bite on clean handkerchief (make sure it’s right over the wound) for 10 minutes while sitting down and relaxing. It usually stops after a while.

Any discomfort you may have is easily controllable with routine painkillers that can be bought over the counter. Paracetamol is a good and effective choice. Never exceed the recommended dose.

If needed, you will be prescribed antibiotics. There are usually two of them that act together. You should take them regularly according to the instructions. Remember that you can’t mix alcohol with metronidazole and if you are on the oral contraceptive pill it’s wise to use barrier contraception in addition while you are on the antibiotics.

Activity: You should take it easy for the rest of the day after an extraction. Avoid strenuous physical exertion such as going to the gym, manual work etc.

Sedation: If you have had sedation you must avoid doing anything responsible on your own such as looking after children, driving or riding a motorbike, cooking, operating any machinery or signing any important documents.

If there are any problems do not hesitate to contact the practice or oral surgeon directly.