29 Sep 2017 Dentistry Post-Op Questions And Instructions
The best time to ask questions about what happens after oral surgery is before the operation. This is one of the reasons for the consultation a patient has with their oral surgeon. The patient should write down any questions they have before they go into the dentist’s office and not hesitate to ask questions that they believe are silly or whose answers seem self-evident. Here are some questions to ask:
- What happens during the procedure?
- What kind of anesthesia will the patient have?
- How long does the operation take?
- How long is the recovery from the operation?
- When can the patient go back to their normal activities?
- What can the patient eat right after oral surgery?
- Does the patient need to take medications?
- What are the risks and complications?
- How does the patient prepare for the surgery?
The oral surgeon should be able to answer all of these questions.
Preparing for Oral Surgery
The patient should start to prepare for surgery well before the actual operation. In some cases, the dentist prescribes antibiotics for the patient if they already have an infection. The patient should also pick up any post operative medicines that they’ll need or have someone else pick them up. If they have general anesthesia for their surgery, they’ll need someone to drive them home. Even patients who don’t have general anesthesia should have someone take them home, as even local anesthesia can leave patients disoriented.
The patient’s home should be prepared for them to take it easy for at least a few days. Since they are probably going to have to sleep with their head elevated, they should have plenty of pillows. Medicines, reading material and other distractions should be placed within reach.
Post Op Recovery
Recovery from post-op dentistry depends largely on the surgery. Oral surgery often results in what seems like a lot of bleeding, since the mouth is too wet for a clot to properly form over the surgical wound. If the bleeding is from an extracted tooth, the patient should bite on gauze or a damp, cool teabag for 45 minute sessions. Ice packs can be used to ease swelling for the first day or so. The rule of thumb is to apply the ice pack for 10 minutes, take it away for 20 minutes, then apply it for another 10 minutes. This should go on for the first 24 hours. After that, the patient can apply a warm compress and rinse their mouth with warm salt water.
A liquid diet should be had for the first 24 hours, followed by a soft diet. The dentist will instruct the patient to take pain medications even before their anesthesia wears off. Pain meds should not be taken longer than seven days.
The patient should not rinse, spit, use a drinking straw or smoke for at least 24 hours after surgery. This is because these activities can lead to dry socket. This is when a blood clot is knocked out of the socket. This can lead to infection and pain.
Extracting teeth are not the only types of oral surgeries. Patients may have bone grafts or orthognathic surgery to correct deformities of the jaw. Patients who have jaw surgery may spend one night in the hospital. They should expect some swelling that peaks over three to five days and then is pretty much over after a week and a half. They’ll experience nasal congestion that takes the same course as the swelling in their jaw and will be on a soft diet for about a week.
The inconvenience and discomfort of post-op dentistry are fleeting, and the consultation the patient has with their doctor goes a long way in preparing the patient for them. The great majority of patients who have oral surgery benefit greatly from it.