Minor Oral Surgery Back

After minor oral surgery, there might be pain, bleeding or swelling. This section provides tips and advice on how to deal with these problems. Your dentist or surgeon will also give you advice.

If you have any of the following problems after oral surgery, call your dentist or oral surgeon right away:

  • if you are bleeding a lot and it has been four hours, or longer, since your surgery
  • if you have the feeling that you are going to throw up (nausea)
  • if you are throwing up (vomiting)
  • if you have a fever
  • if you have pain that does not get any better, and it has been one full day (or longer) since your surgery
  • if your swelling is still getting worse, and it has been two days (or longer) since your surgery

Your dentist or oral surgeon will tell you exactly what to do.

To Ease The Pain

The dentist or oral surgeon will give you a freezing or local anesthetic to numb the area of your mouth that will be treated. The length of time your mouth stays numb is dependent on the type of anesthetic used and how much of it is given to you. Be careful to not bite your tongue, cheek or lip when your mouth is numb. Numbness typically goes away within  few hours.  If your dentist or oral surgeon gives you a freezing that puts you to sleep (general anesthetic), then your dentist or oral surgeon will give you directions to follow after surgery. When numbness wears off, some pain is typical. You will have the most pain in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Some soreness or discomfort is expected and can last for three to five days. The amount of discomfort depends on the surgery you'll undergo, how healthy you are in general and how active you are.

If you're running around right after oral surgery, you will probably feel more discomfort. It is best to rest. Your dentist or oral surgeon will prescribe painkillers to dull the pain. These types of medications are referred to as an analgesic. He or she might even prescribe medicine to help prevent the infection such as an antibiotic.

What to do

  • Tell your dentist or oral surgeon about any other prescription medicines you are taking.
  • Follow the advice of your dentist or oral surgeon and your pharmacist when taking medicines.
  • Call your dentist or oral surgeon if the pain does not get any better within 24 hours.

What not to do

  • Do not take more medicine than advised.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking painkillers.
  • Do not drive or use machines if you are taking narcotic painkillers. Your dentist, oral surgeon or pharmacist will tell you if your pain medicine is a narcotic.

Stop The Bleeding

The dentist or oral surgeon will use gauze to cut down on the amount of bleeding while the blood clots. These gauze pads should be left in place for an hour after leaving the dentist or oral surgeon's office. Press firmly on the pad with your teeth but never chew on it.

You will probably bleeding for the first one or two hours after surgery. The area may continue to ooze for up to 24 hours. Do not be alarmed if it looks like you are bleeding heavily. Blood and saliva will mix together in your mouth and make it look like triple the amount it actually is. After approximately four hours, if you cannot control the bleeding by pressing firmly on the gauze pad, it is recommended to call your dentist or oral surgeon.

What to do

  • Keep firm and constant pressure on the wound by putting a gauze pad over the area, and by closing your teeth firmly on the pad. Leave the pad in place for an hour, no matter how soggy it becomes.
  • If you are still bleeding after one hour, put a new gauze pad on the area.
  • Put firm and constant pressure on the area for another hour.
  • Rest and keep your head raised. Rest slows down the flow (or circulation) of blood, which helps stop the bleeding and helps you heal faster.
  • Brush and floss your teeth as usual, but avoid the wound and use only a little bit of water.
  • Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you are still bleeding a lot, and it has been four hours (or longer) since your surgery.
  • A full day after surgery, rinse your mouth gently with warm water. Your dentist or oral surgeon may suggest that you add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water each time you rinse. Rinse four or five times a day, for three to four days.

What not to do

  • Do not rinse your mouth within the first 24 hours, even if the bleeding and oozing leave a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Do not chew on the gauze pad or suck on the wound.
  • Do not strain yourself for two full days after your surgery.
  • Do not drive or use machines if you are taking narcotic painkillers.
  • Avoid hot liquids like coffee and tea. If you eat soup, let it cool first. Hot liquids increase the flow (or circulation) of blood, and your mouth can start to bleed again.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco for the first two weeks after surgery. They make it harder for the blood to clot, easier for an infection to start, and they delay healing.

Reduce or Control the Swelling

An individual's face is likely to swell up in the first 24 hours after oral surgery. The swelling might last between 5 and 7 days. Once the swelling is reduced, the face might look bruised. Bruising can last up to 10 days after surgery.

What to do

  • On the first day after surgery, put a cold compress on the swollen area. To make a cold compress, wrap ice cubes in a towel, or use a bag of frozen vegetables such as peas.
  • Keep the cold compress there for 10 minutes. Take it off for 10 minutes, then put it back on for another 10 minutes.
  • Repeat this procedure over and over again for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • On the second day after surgery, put something warm on the swollen area, like a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel, or a heating pad wrapped in a towel. The warmth will increase blood flow (or circulation) and decrease swelling. Do not use anything hot enough to burn your skin.
  • Call your dentist or oral surgeon if the swelling keeps getting worse 48 hours after surgery, or if the swelling does not go down within seven days after surgery.

What not do

  • Do not apply heat to the swollen area in the first 24 hours after surgery as it will only make the swelling worse.

Relieving Soreness, Jaw & Local Area

After surgery, the jaw muscles might have tensed up and become sore. It might become difficult to open your mouth for about a week to ten days. Your jaw muscles will have become stiff and sore from holding the mouth open during surgery.

What to do

  • If your jaw muscles are not too sore, massage them gently with a warm, moist facecloth.
  • Eat foods that are easy to chew such as eggs, pasta and bananas. Have drinks like milk shakes, milk and juices.
  • Call your dentist or oral surgeon if, after seven to 10 days, your jaw muscles are still tender or if your mouth is still hard to open.

What not to do

  • Do not force your mouth open.
  • Do not chew gum or eat hard or chewy foods.
  • Do not have drinks like coffee and tea.