You may be asked to keep a gauze pad in place over the surgical site with firm pressure for one (1) hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded. A new gauze pad does not need to be placed unless bleeding continues or recurs.
You may experience some swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face following an extraction. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery. Most swelling will not become apparent until the day following the extraction and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, swelling and discomfort may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. An ice pack (a bag of frozen peas work great) should be applied to the outside of the face over the area where the tooth was extracted. The ice pack should be applied for 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for the first 24 to 48 hours while awake. After 48 hours ice has no beneficial effect. Instead, the application of moist heat to the outside of the face may be helpful in reducing the size of the swelling more quickly. On occasion, some residual swelling may last a week or longer.
Take the prescribed pain medications before you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the start of the local anesthetic wearing off which typically occurs 4 to 6 hours after an extraction. Taking pain medication on an empty stomach may cause nausea, so it is recommended to take the pills with food or drink. Pain medication may make you groggy and slow your reflexes. Do not drive a vehicle, operate any machinery, or undertake important matters while medicated. It is also best to avoid alcoholic beverages. If you do not achieve adequate pain relief you may supplement each pill with an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. When appropriate you may transition from the prescribed pain medication to an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin).
It is best to wait until your local anesthetic has completely worn off before beginning to eat. Avoid hot foods and liquids the first day after surgery. You may eat anything that is soft and cool the first day by chewing away from the biopsy site. Avoid hard, crunchy foods that may disturb the biopsy incision as well as salty and spicy foods that may cause additional irritation. It is best to progress to more solid foods and return to your normal diet as soon as possible.
Begin gentle, warm salt water rinses (1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water) the morning after your surgery. Rinsing with salt water at least 3-4 times a day, especially after eating, will help to reduce inflammation. Dr. Conquest may prescribe an antibiotic mouth rinse to use in place of salt water. Continue to brush your teeth 2-3 times a day as best you can – being careful to avoid your biopsy site for several days.
You may have sutures at your biopsy site to minimize bleeding and to help with healing. If one or two of these sutures fall out early, there is no cause for alarm. Unless Dr. Conquests informs you otherwise, the sutures we place dissolve and will fall out on their own in 1 to 2 weeks.
Biopsy specimen are submitted to the University of Pittsburgh Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Biopsy Service. Biopsy results are usually available five to seven days after submission. You will be informed of your biopsy results either at a scheduled follow-up visit or via telephone call.