Care After Minor Oral Surgery
After minor oral surgery, you may experience some pain, bleeding and swelling. This section will offer some advice on how to deal with these problems. Your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon will give you advice, too.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a dental specialist with at least four years of extra university training in this area, they are the best person to discuss your issues, questions, concerns and comments with.
Please note that these are major areas of concern and you should call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately:
- If you are bleeding a lot and it has been over four hours since surgery
- If you have the feeling that you are going to throw up (nausea)
- If you are throwing up (vomiting)
- If you have a high fever
- If you have certain pains that do not go away over a full day or longer since the surgery
- If the swelling is increasing / getting worse and it has been over two days since the surgery
Before oral surgery, the dentist or oral surgeon will give you a "freezing" or local anesthetic to numb the area of your mouth that is to be treated. The length of time your mouth stays numb will depend on the type of freezing or anesthetic used and the amount of it. After your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite down on your cheek, lip or tongue. If you are having a type of freezing that puts you to sleep, called a generic anesthetic, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you other directions that you must follow before and after your surgery.
The numbness will typically go away within a few hours. When the numbness wears off, it is normal to experience some pain. You will experience some pain in the first 24-48 hours after your surgery. Some soreness or discomfort at the site of the surgery may last for three to five days. The amount of discomfort will depend on the kind of surgery you have, how healthy you are and in general how active you are.
If you are running around and working, you may feel more discomfort. It's best to rest. Your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe painkillers to dull the pain. This type of medicine is called an analgesic. They may also prescribe medicine to help prevent infection, this is called an antibiotic.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will place a gauze pad to cut down on the amount of bleeding while the blood clots. This gauze pad should be left in place for an hour after leaving your dentist's or oral surgeon's office. Press firmly on the pad with your teeth but do not chew on it.
You will probably bleed for the first one to two hours after surgery. The area might continue to ooze for up to 24 hours. Do not be alarmed if it looks like you are bleeding a lot. Blood and saliva tend to mix together in your mouth and it makes it look like a lot more bleeding is actually occurring. If after four hours, you cannot control the bleeding by pressing firmly on the gauze pad, call your dentist or oral surgeon.
Swelling after Oral Surgery / Sore Jaw
Depending on the individual, your face might swell up for the first 24 hours after oral surgery. Swelling could last for five to seven days. Once the swelling starts to go down, your face might bruise. The bruising can last up to 10 days after your surgery.
Another symptom that could develop after oral surgery is that your jaw muscles could be sore and it may be difficult to open your mouth for seven to ten days. Your jaw muscles might become stiff or sore from holding your mouth open during surgery.