Making Preparations before Your Surgery
- Set your appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon. Make sure you make your appointment on a day that allows you to recuperate after the surgery.
- Go to the Grocery Store the night before. Buy soft, easy-to-eat foods like applesauce, chicken soup, yogurt, canned fruit, gelatin, pudding or cottage cheese. You’ll need to skip foods that require chewing or foods that are served either extremely hot or extremely cold for a while after your surgery.
- Also remember that you should not drink alcohol, soda, coffee, or hot beverages the first few days after surgery.
- Stock up on movies, games and books. You may be in a lot of pain, so you want to make sure you have a lot of resources around to keep your mind off of your discomfort. You’ll need to take it easy for a few days.
- Find someone to drive you to the clinic. You’ll be groggy after the operation, and you’ll need someone to drive you home and help pick up your painkillers a the drugstore.
Taking Care of Yourself after Surgery
- Leave the gauze on the surgical site for at least 30 minutes. Do not attempt to change the gauze as it will disrupt the clotting process. Once the first gauze pad has been taken off, keep the area clean and leave it alone. Do not attempt to spit blood out frequently as the pressure change in your mouth will inhibit clotting. Instead, use fresh gauze to absorb the blood.
- Use Tea bags. If your wounds are still bleeding at a steady pace after 12 hours or so, stop biting gauze and start biting moist tea bags. The tannins within tea leaves promote clotting, and for some people, the caffeine increases circulation. This process encourages the build-up of clotting platelets within the stitched area, which speeds up healing and recovery time.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water. Combine 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Take the liquid into your mouth, gently let it soak for a moment then let drizzle out into your sink or toilet. Do not gurgle or spit as this may dislodge the blood clot in the wound. The salt water will promote healing and decrease irritation.
- Be sure to rinse extra-gently on the first day after surgery.
- Use only the salt water rinse to clean your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery. Wait until your doctor recommends you to start using a toothbrush again (usually safe by the second day).
- Use an ice pack to ease pain and swelling. Ice may be applied to your cheeks to help prevent swelling for the first 24 hours.
- After 24 to 72 hours, ice may continue to help ease the pain
- Elevate your head. Whether you’re sleeping on your couch or on y our bed, place 2 or more pillows beneath your head to elevate your mouth. Elevation will decrease swelling.
- Keep your supplied close by. You’ll need water, gauze, painkillers and antibiotics close to you so that you don’t have to get up and get the things you need.
- Avoid using straws to drink liquids. The vacuum created within your mouth can dislodge your clots and slow down the healing process.
- Skip cigarette smoking and alcohol. Both of these activities can inhibit the healing process. You should wait at least 72 hours after surgery to use tobacco products (but longer is better).
- Control your pain. You can take prescribed painkillers, or you can take over-the-counter ibuprofen to prevent pain, inflammation and swelling. Skip the aspirin because it could make you bleed and slow your healing.
- Ask for help. Count on your spouse, your friends or your family to take care of you while you’re recovering. Have them take your phone calls, help you with chores, bring you food and keep you comfortable while you heal.
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