Modern oral surgery may involve either the teeth themselves, their supporting tissues and bone or any of the soft tissue within the mouth.
Healing occurs quickly in most cases without any complication. Problems may arise because the mouth must function while healing is taking place. Additionally, the mouth cannot be sterilised and there is always a risk of infection of the oral wound.
The most common complications are pain, swelling, bleeding and infection.
Please do not place fingers, pencils or any object unnecessarily in the mouth (to avoid injury or infection). A soft toothbrush should be used to clean your teeth. Please do not chew a numb lip or tongue – a nasty injury can result.
Any stitches in your mouth are made from dissolvable material and will dissolve in approximately 10-14 days.
Moderate pain can be controlled by the medication prescribed. Remember to take these medicines in the usual way and DO NOT apply the drug to the wound itself. Warm packs applied after day 3 will help to control any remaining pain or muscle fatigue. If the pain persists or worsens you should ring one of our Doctors.
Some swelling and/or difficulty in opening your mouth is common but it should begin to subside after one to five days.
Ice packs applied immediately following theatre and at home for the next 24-48 hours will limit the amount of swelling and pain. (Hot/cold packs from your local chemist or ice wrapped in a face washer are effective).
Continued pain, swelling or a raised temperature may indicate infection. Infection may spread or at least seriously delay healing. You should therefore call your treating Doctor for review if concerned.
Avoid infection by strict oral hygiene. Rinse your mouth gently after meals. A teaspoon of table salt in a glass of lukewarm water is quite a satisfactory supplement to chlorhexidine containing mouth rinses (available from your pharmacy).
Continue bleeding is not normal. The first action is to:
- Remove any excessive blood clots from the mouth.
- Apply a rolled bandage/gauze (from chemist) or small folded handkerchief directly to the wound, and keep it in place under moderate pressure. The cloth must be clean and should be dampened.
- Sit down and maintain the pressure for at least 20 minutes. If bleeding cannot be stopped by this method, call your treating Doctor
Avoid dehydration by keeping up your fluid intake – ideally use an electrolyte replacement drink (eg sports drink). Water based ice blocks are a convenient method of providing a degree of fluid intake. Eat soft nutritious foods such as soft boiled eggs, soup or fruit juices, even if you don’t feel particularly hungry. You may experience some nausea or lack of appetite following surgery.
This advice is to help you achieve a smooth post-operative recovery. Should any problems arise, telephone your treating Doctor.