POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOWING GENERAL ANAESTHESIA
A small amount of bleeding and blood-stained saliva are not uncommon for several days after oral surgery. This bleeding can usually be controlled with direct pressure. You will be discharged from hospital with a packet of gauze. Slightly moisten a gauze pack and bite down firmly for 30 minutes, whilst resting quietly with your head elevated and an ice pack on the back of your neck. If the bleeding does not subside, please contact our surgery on (07) 3369 1999.
These are normal responses to surgery and vary from person to person. Swelling takes 2 – 3 days to reach its maximum and 7 – 10 days to subside. Applying ice packs (20 minutes on/20 minutes off) for the first 1 – 2 days and moving the jaw (talking/chewing) can help minimise the swelling and associated jaw stiffness.
It is essential to maintain a very high standard of oral hygiene after having oral surgery, to help decrease the risk of infection and to aid in fast healing. Do not rinse your mouth on the day of surgery.
The day after surgery, gently rinse your mouth with warm salty water (teaspoon of salt in a tumbler of warm water) every hour that you are awake and keep this up for 3 – 4 weeks. Warm salty water will also help dissolve any sutures that have been placed. Normal tooth brushing should be recommenced as soon as possible. Infection is uncommon as long as excellent oral hygiene is maintained and antibiotics are taken as prescribed.
Do not eat or drink anything too hot or too cold the day of surgery as this may stimulate bleeding. A liquid or soft diet may be required initially, with a gradual return to a normal diet over the following 5 – 7 days. Avoid drinking alcohol whilst on antibiotics and strong painkillers.
Smoking should be avoided totally for 10 days after surgery as it delays healing and increases the risk of infection and subsequent pain.
As the long-acting local anaesthetic starts to wear off (6 – 8 hours), start to take regular painkillers (Paracetamol and Ibruprofen (Nurofen)). Stronger painkillers may be prescribed by the anaesthetist – these should be taken only as prescribed. Whilst taking the stronger painkillers, Nurofen can still be taken, however paracetamol can only be taken if Panadeine Forte has NOT been prescribed.
These can be due to the general anaesthetic, post-operative medications or swallowing blood. If they do occur, stop taking any medications and take small sips of clear fluids until the nausea and vomiting abate. If vomiting continues for greater than 12 hours, please call our surgery on (07) 3369 1999.