What to Expect
What can I expect when visiting?
People who have oral or dental procedures at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons BayCare Clinic can expect a consistent experience no matter how many visits they make to our offices.
Consultations with our oral surgeons usually are scheduled after a referral from a dentist.
Consultations are recommended for people who are on blood thinners, who have complex medical histories or who take multiple medications. Consultations also can be done at the patient’s request.
What happens at a consultation?
At a consultation, an oral surgeon will discuss the person’s medical and surgical history, allergies and medication. The oral surgeon will evaluate the case, make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. Treatment and anesthesia options will be discussed, along with the imaging needed for the case. The oral surgeon also will discuss the treatment plan with the referring dentist.
What happens after a procedure?
Our oral surgeons and staff will provide instructions for home care. All of your questions and concerns will be addressed.
People who have oral or dental procedures are encouraged to call our office with any questions or concerns at any time of day or night. An oral surgeon is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Our oral surgeons also discuss treatments with the referring dentist within days of any procedure.
What to expect post-op
The best outcome from any oral surgery procedure happens when people follow all instructions for caring for themselves after surgery. Proper care for the mouth and facial structures is important for recovery.
What can I expect after an oral surgery procedure or after tooth removal?
Discomfort, pain, swelling and bleeding can be expected after surgery. Each of these conditions can be managed. In some cases, jaw function may be restricted for several days.
Most of our sutures – stitches – placed during an oral surgery procedure are dissolvable. They typically dissolve within five to seven days.
Get adequate rest after surgery. People who try to return to normal too soon often have a longer recovery period and more complications.
Avoid vigorous exercise for three days, or 72 hours, after surgery. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure can contribute to swelling, pain and bleeding.
Avoid smoking. It increases pain and the risk of complications, including infection.
How can I manage bleeding?
Our staff will assess any bleeding before you leave our office.
Most bleeding will stop within a few hours. Minor bleeding may persist for up to 48 hours after surgery. Depending on your level of activity, minor bleeding may continue for several days. If you experience bleeding that worries you, please contact our office for assistance.
Our staff will give you gauze to place over the surgical area if you experience bleeding after surgery.
How to use gauze: Place one or two small pieces of gauze directly over the surgical area. Bite down, applying constant, moderately firm pressure for 30 to 45 minutes. Removing gauze more frequently may disrupt the clotting process and lead to further bleeding. If gauze is saturated with blood within a few minutes, use a moistened tea bag as you would the gauze.
Remove gauze from your mouth while eating. If bleeding has stopped after eating, you don’t need to replace the gauze. But if bleeding persists after eating, put new gauze over the surgical area.
How to minimize bleeding: Sleep with your head elevated. Don’t use straws; the sucking action doesn’t help healing. Gently rinse your mouth with water; some people rinse too aggressively.
People who take prescription or over-the-counter blood thinners may experience more difficulty with bleeding after a procedure. To reduce complications, please discuss any changes in blood-thinning medication with one of our oral surgeons or your prescribing physician.
How can I manage pain?
Local anesthesia typically wears off two to three hours after surgery. After that, pain medication is used. Most people don’t need prescription pain medication if pain is managed properly immediately after a procedure.
If you have been given a prescription for pain medication, have it filled and take as directed.
Eat before taking any pain medication, especially if you were asked to fast before your procedure.
For best results, take an over-the-counter pain reliever 30 to 40 minutes before anesthesia wears off. Start with one or two tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four to six hours, alternating with two to four tablets of ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) every eight hours.
If you use prescription pain medication, check to see whether it has acetaminophen or ibuprofen as an ingredient. If so, adjust for that when alternating with over-the-counter medication. If you aren’t sure how to do this, please check with our staff.
Prescription pain medication can make you drowsy and groggy. Don’t drive for eight hours after each dose.
Don’t drive for 24 hours after anesthesia or while taking prescription pain medication.
How can I manage swelling?
Swelling varies significantly, depending on the procedure and the person. Swelling typically peaks within two to three days. After that, swelling typically stabilizes and slowly subsides.
Immediately after surgery: When you return home, apply ice to the jaw or face to help reduce swelling. Ice the jaw for 20 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Repeat for the first 36 to 48 hours after surgery.
After 36 to 48 hours: Apply heat to the jaw or face. A moist washcloth works fine. This moist warmth also helps people recover from bruising that can extend away from the surgical area.
Keeping the head elevated and the use of Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) also help manage swelling.
After three days, or 72 hours: If swelling continues to increase, or if swelling redevelops after subsiding, visit our office to be evaluated for possible infection.
How can I manage nausea and vomiting?
Nausea and vomiting after surgery can have many causes. They include your choice of anesthesia during surgery, medication, dehydration and bleeding.
If you believe bleeding is causing nausea, review our post-operative instructions for managing bleeding.
If pain medication is causing nausea, stop taking it until the nausea has subsided and you can eat with nausea and/or vomiting.
Sipping carbonated beverages often helps ease nausea. A bland diet also helps ease nausea. The BRAT diet – banana, rice, applesauce and toast – is one such diet.
What can I eat and drink after an oral surgery procedure?
Good nutrition helps healing. Eat a soft diet on the day of an oral surgery procedure and as directed in the days following surgery. Your comfort level determines what you can eat after surgery. Soft foods such as eggs, potatoes, pasta and ground meat can be swallowed with little or no chewing and with no risk of choking.
Nutritional supplements may help maintain proper nutrition and thus proper healing. These products include, but are not limited to, Ensure, SlimFast, or Carnation Breakfast Essentials.
Avoid foods with small particles, such as rice, seeds and nuts. They can become trapped in the surgical area and cause discomfort. If food particles become trapped in the surgical area, leave them alone. The food particles eventually will work their way free. Trying to clean the surgical site often knocks loose the protective clot or causes new bleeding.
How will my jaw feel after an oral surgery procedure?
Facial muscles and jaw joints may feel tight and sore after surgery. This typically doesn’t last long. Any tightness or soreness should subside as pain and swelling subside.
How do I care for my mouth after an oral surgery procedure?
Proper oral hygiene minimizes the risk of infection, swelling, dry sockets and pain.
On the night after your surgery, gently brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Be especially gentle in the surgery area. Gently rinse the toothpaste with water, but don’t spit out the water. Let the water fall gently from your mouth to the sink.
After 24 hours have passed, rinse with lukewarm salt water, particularly after meals and at bedtime. Put one teaspoon of salt into a large glass of water. Don’t use Waterpik or similar cleaning devices, over-the-counter mouthwashes, or any products with hydrogen peroxide.