Frequently Asked Questions
When can I eat and drink after surgery?
You can start to eat and drink as soon as you wish after surgery, but you should avoid chewing hard foods as this is likely to be uncomfortable. Drinking plenty of fluids apart from alcohol is beneficial to recovery and the recommended mouthwashes will ensure the surgery sites remain clean.
Will it be uncomfortable after the surgery?
Immediately after the surgery your mouth should be completely comfortable as local anaesthetic will have been placed to numb the area during the procedure. This will wear off after several hours and depending on the extent of the required surgery, it is normal to experience some stiffness, swelling and discomfort as part of your body's healing process. This should be managed with the medication you will have been prescribed as part of your care. If you should experience any unexpected pain, please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance.
Will I have bleeding after the surgery?
Bleeding is possible after any surgery, but generally after Oral Surgery significant post operative bleeding is very rare as sutures are generally placed to avoid this. It is common to experience some minor intermittent bleeding and or blood stained saliva for up to 24 hours and in the unlikely event of concern you should contact our office promptly for assistance.
Do stitches need to be removed?
No. The majority of modern sutures used for Oral surgery will completely dissolve without the need for removal.
Will I need any follow-up?
Where possible, we prefer to see our patients for review approximately one week after surgery to check healing. This is not essential and we treat many patients from considerable distances out of town and we will sometimes ask these patients to return for review only if they have any concerns about their healing.
Should I stop my normal medications before surgery?
No. As a general rule you should continue all medications prescribed by your doctor throughout the surgery period. This particularly applies to any heart, blood pressure or blood thinning medications. Your medications should be discussed during the consultation appointment and any changes to this planned.
Can I be asleep for the surgery?
Yes. The majority of our patients are treated with intravenous sedation, which is adjusted to suit their needs and preference to be unaware of their surgery.
What about antibiotics after the operation to stop infection?
Most patients are given a SINGLE dose of antibiotics to be taken BEFORE their operation and this has been well proven to be a most significant treatment to prevent infections. On occasions when significant infection already exists at the time of surgery or when implants are being used antibiotics are continued for several days after the surgery.
What is a dry socket?
A dry socket is a poor healing response that occurs in approximately 10-15% of particularly lower wisdom tooth extractions. Patients experience an unpleasant dull nagging pain that typically occurs on the 5th post-operative day and lasts for 3-4 days. It is usually well managed by taking pain medication and if required, a temporary dressing in the socket. Dry sockets are more likely to occur in older patients and those who have had pre-existing infections around their wisdom teeth.
Can I take Arnica or any homoeopathic remedies to help my healing?
Yes, it is appropriate to stay within normal doses and let your surgeon know what you wish to take as some homoeopathic remedies have the potential to interfere with clotting after surgery.
When can I clean my teeth and rinse my mouth after the surgery?
In order to avoid any disturbance to the wound we ask patients to avoid rinsing their mouth until the following morning after surgery when gentle tooth brushing and usual mouth cleaning can resume.
Will Ice Packs be of Benefit?
Some patients find an Ice Pack applied to the skin over the surgery site for short periods after an operation to be comforting and if so, can be used. There is however little evidence to now recommend routine use.
When can I get back to work?
This will vary depending on the extent of the surgery and individual recovery, but as a minimum, we would recommend the remainder of the day of the operation to be spent resting and then progressively resume normal activities over a week as you feel it is appropriate.
Will smoking make any difference to my healing?
YES. Any form of smoking has been proven to slow healing and result in a greater risk of infections and dry socket. Smoking has also been shown to reduce the success rate of dental implants. We encourage our patients to minimize or preferably stop smoking around their surgery.
Who do I call after-hours if I am worried about anything?
Please do not hesitate to call our office on 07 578 8847 where the answer phone will direct you to the after-hours numbers for either David Chrisp or John Bridgman. In the unlikely event you cannot contact either of the surgeons, our Tauranga Hospital emergency department doctors available on 07 579 8000 and are well trained to assist with any concerns.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to call us on 07 578 8847, or email us using our contact form.