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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.
Surgical Instructions – Post Surgery
Work and Exercise
It is best to take it easy for the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid any strenuous exercise and persistent bending movement. It is recommended to postpone any work or activity that requires a great deal of talking. It can be irritating to the surgical site and promote bleeding immediately following surgery. Aerobic exercise should be discontinued for 48 hours.
Pain Medication (Discomfort)
Take medication as directed by the doctor. Take the medication with some food in your stomach to avoid nausea. If you become nauseous, stop taking the medication and call the doctor. There is to be NO ALCOHOL consumption in combination with medication. Sometimes constipation may occur, please consider taking a mild laxative.
Not all surgical procedures require antibiotic coverage, but those that do will require you to complete the dosage as prescribed. PLEASE DO NOT DISCONTINUE THE ANTIBIOTICS unless you suspect an adverse reaction. In any case, contact the doctor immediately.
Antimicrobial Mouth Rinse
If prescribed, use as directed. Begin the day of surgery.
Swelling and Pain
Some facial swelling may occur during the first 48 hours. Keeping the face cold retards swelling, reduces the chance of bruising, and controls discomfort. It is beneficial during the first 24 hours to apply ice packs intermittently when you are awake (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off). If the pain medication is not effective, you should apply ice packs to the face along with some crushed ice inside your mouth to allow the pain medication adequate time to control your discomfort. DO NOT APPLY HEAT the first 48 hours. If swelling does occur, it will often take 3 to 5 days for all swelling to resolve.
There are two infrequent occurrences you may experience for which you need to consult the doctor. The first is pain that feels like an earache. This is a spasm of the jaw muscle. If moist heat does not relieve the spasm, please call the doctor. The second is increased discomfort around the fourth day post-surgical. This is likely due to swelling under the dressing. This is more likely to occur if you have had any strenuous exercise during the postoperative time. Removal of the surgical dressing may be required.
The dressing protects the surgical site and may stay in place until you next visit. Do not be alarmed if small pieces or the entire dressing comes off sooner. Continue to treat the site with care.
Hot foods or beverages are NOT advisable during this time. Foods such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices should be avoided. Fruit juice may also cause a burning sensation.
Please limit yourself to a soft, cool diet for the first few days. Do not go without nourishment. You may eat any soft foods that do not irritate. You may find milkshakes, eggs, pudding, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. appropriate. Later you may add: cooked cereals, based fish, pasta, potatoes, overcooked vegetables, etc.
AVOID doing anything that will create a vacuum in your mouth (example: using a straw, spitting, heavy rinsing). DO NOT SMOKE!! It will irritate the surgical area and decrease healing.
There are major blood vessels in the areas of the surgical procedure, but small vessels will continue to ooze small amounts of blood. This may continue for several days after surgery. If you notice excessive bleeding, bite on MOISTENED gauze for 1 hour. If you have done something to cause the area to bleed, or if persistent oozing is bothersome, then cold, strong tea held in the mouth for several minutes will usually retard the bleeding significantly. You may also place a moistened tea bag directly on the site for 1 hour. If you feel you are having excessive bleeding and moistened gauze or the tea bag is not effective, please contact the doctor.
After the first 6 hours following surgery, you may CAREFULLY brush the dressing and the exposed part of the teeth, including your tongue and insides of your cheeks. Use a soft toothbrush and brush as often as you wish in order to keep your mouth fresh. The cleaner the mouth, the better the healing.
Contacting the Doctor (after the usual office hours)
If you have an emergency, call the office at (770) 410-7565. Our answering system will give you instructions in how to contact Dr Harrell.