Surgery of the oral cavity is similar to surgery to other parts of the body and requires careful attention to post-operative instructions. Only by doing so will there be a minimal amount of side effects.
- Do not disturb the wound with your finger or by sucking on it. Bite on the gauze pad for one hour. The gauze may be replaced every 15 minutes or more frequently if necessary. Do not bite your lip.
- After leaving the office or the hospital, go directly home and keep physical activity down to a minimum for the remainder of the day.
- Do not rinse the mouth for 24 hours following surgery. Do not drink through a straw.
- Do not smoke. Smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of post-operative pain as well as slower healing of the surgical site.
- Mouthwashes should not be used during the day of the operation. A salt and water mouthwash (strength: one teaspoon salt to 1/2 litre of water) may be used after meals for a few days commencing a day following your surgery. You may be given a prescription for a medicated rinse to be used sparingly to bathe surgical wounds for 30 seconds one to three times a day.
- Swelling is to be expected in certain cases often reaching its maximum in about 72 hours, then disappearing spontaneously in a further 2 to 3 days. In an attempt to minimize the swelling and to relieve discomfort, an ice pack may be applied to the face 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off for the first 6 to 8 hours following surgery. There is no need to remain indoors, “avoid drafts” or cover the swelling.
- It is normal for the saliva to be slightly streaked with blood for about one day. If excessive bleeding is present, fold the provided gauze into a firm pad and place it directly over the operative area to maintain steady pressure for 20 minutes or longer, changing the gauze periodically as required. If the bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions or notify your local dentist if you are from out of town.
- If no pain medication is prescribed, take 2 Tylenol (Acetaminophen) every four hours if necessary and if not medically contraindicated.
- A bruising of the skin sometimes occurs and then disappears spontaneously in approximately one week. No treatment for this condition is usually indicated. Moist warm compresses may help larger yellowish areas to resolve.
- Cold or lukewarm liquids may be taken for the first 4 to 6 hours following your return home. Unless otherwise specified, maintain a soft diet for a few days. Avoid alcohol and hot drinks on the day of the operation.
- Pain in the ear, slight difficulty in swallowing, and/or difficulty in opening the jaw completely are additional signs and symptoms which may occur with varying frequency. These findings are usually normal. If these persist or continue to worsen, please call us.
- Antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of the oral contraceptives. Consider using other methods of contraception in addition to oral contraceptives.
- If you have received intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic, you should not operate a vehicle or use hazardous devices for 18 hours after surgery. A responsible adult should accompany you home and stay with you for the remainder of the day.
Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or should problems arise. A surgeon is on call evenings, weekends and holidays by contacting (519) 433-8333.