Post-operative Instructions

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.

Pain Medications

It is not unusual to have discomfort for at least the first week following your surgical procedure. You will be given a prescription for medication to help you tolerate the post-surgical recovery period. Please take your medications as directed. It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

As an alternative to prescription medications, some patients have found alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) every 4 hours is an effective way to handle discomfort. Take 2 extra strength Tylenol, four hours later 600-800 mg Ibuprofen, four hours later Tylenol, etc. Make sure you stay within the daily drug limitations for these medications – refer to medication instructions on the bottle.

Note: When taking any prescribed medication containing Acetaminophen (Tylenol), i.e.; Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicoden or Tylenol with Codeine, you should not take additional Tylenol so as not to exceed the safety level of Acetaminophen. Please contact the office with any questions you may have.

Antibiotics

Please alert the office to any allergies or sensitivities that you might have to antibiotics. An antibiotic may be prescribed following your surgical procedure. Take as directed until gone. It is advisable not to take these medications on an empty stomach, as nausea may result. For women taking birth control pills, be advised that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness for a full cycle and precautions should be taken.

Swelling

Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and will typically increase 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack over the outside cheek area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Continue using ice for 2-3 days following the procedure as often as possible. Significant swelling can occur depending on the procedure. Significant swelling, with discomfort that is improving, is normal. Significant swelling with discomfort that is not improving or getting worse, warrants a call to the office.

Bleeding

A small amount of bleeding is normal. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:

  • Do not rinse your mouth vigorously.
  • Elevate your head when lying down.
  • Apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate finger pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary.
  • Enclose a moistened tea bag in a gauze square and apply finger pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Call the office if bleeding persists.

Bruising

Post surgical bruising is normal.  The presence of and the amount of bruising is different from patient to patient.  If you are taking a blood thinner, including aspirin, the extent of bruising may be more significant, which is normal.  Utilizing ice packs, post surgically can help to minimize bruising.

Dressing

If used, a dressing looks like bubble gum. It is placed around the teeth at the level of the gum tissue. The dressing (which acts as a bandage) is used to protect the surgical site and help reduce discomfort. If the dressing comes off or is uncomfortable, please call the office for direction.

Diet

Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid hot foods and liquids for approximately 1 day following the surgery. A soft diet is recommended. Foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and soft fruits are more easily eaten. Nutritional drinks such as Ensure and Carnation Instant Breakfast are also recommended. Avoid crunchy foods, peanuts, popcorn, and food with seeds until instructed by Dr. Flynn. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing.

Smoking

Do not smoke for at least 2 weeks following your surgical procedure. It will significantly slow healing and can compromise results. For some patients, utilizing a nicotine patch per product directions, during initial healing, is helpful.

Alcohol

Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.

Rinsing

Do not rinse for the first 24 hours. The doctor may prescribe a medicated mouth rinse, Peridex, to keep the surgical site clean. Do not rinse vigorously, just bathe the area only in the medication. Do not spit forcefully. Repeat as necessary to help keep the surgical site clean, at least twice a day. If you run out of Peridex, you can use diluted Listerine or Crest Pro-Health (generic brands are fine) or warm salt water. The Peridex can cause some staining of teeth in some patients. If this occurs, our office will arrange for a quick cleaning to remove it once the surgical site has healed adequately.

Brushing

Do not brush the surgical site. You may resume normal brushing/flossing in other areas the day following surgery.

Suture Removal

You may notice increased discomfort 3-4 days after the surgical procedure. As the tissues begin to heal, they may pull against the sutures and dressing. You may choose to take some form of over the counter pain medication one hour prior to your suture removal appointment to minimize tenderness. If you are a patient for whom antibiotic pre-medication is required, take the prescribed antibiotics 1 hour prior to your suture removal appointment or as otherwise directed.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during or after regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at Chattanooga Office Phone Number 423-893-0557. If it is after hours, leave an emergency message with your name, phone number, and brief description of your issue and your doctor will return your call in a timer manner.