Frequently Asked Nursing Questions

Please read answers to frequently asked questions related to recovery from oral surgery. For more information, please contact our offices using the buttons below:

Questions About Swelling | When do the stitches come out? | Questions About Bleeding | Pain Management Information | Questions About the Hole in Your Mouth | How long will I have pain? | When can I smoke? | I’m nauseous — what do I do? | When can I start wearing my retainer again? | Do I need to stop taking Coumadin or blood thinners?

I had surgery a few days ago, why am I still swollen?

Photo of oral surgery staff addressing a patientFacial swelling will often increase for the first 3 or 4 days after surgery and then will start to subside.

When do the stitches come out?

Most sutures will dissolve or fall out on their own within 2–7 days following surgery. Some types of sutures may take 2 weeks or more to dissolve. Your surgeon or nurse will tell you which type of suture was used during your particular procedure.

I am still bleeding, what should I do?

Some oozing or bleeding from the surgical site may occur for up to 48–72 hours following your surgery. If the bleeding seems heavy you can take folded gauze sponges or moisten regular (not decaf or herbal) tea bags wrapped in gauze and place them over the bleeding site. Bite down firmly for 1 hour without changing. Repeat the procedure if bleeding continues. Continuous pressure controls bleeding. Please call our office if the bleeding continues despite these measures: Warminster Office Phone Number 215-672-6560.

I am still having pain. The pain medication is not working.

Be sure to take your prescribed pain medication as directed and start it prior to the local anesthetic wearing off. Norco and Percocet can be taken every 2–6 hours. Ibuprofen (400–800mg) can be given every 4 hours as needed or can be given along with the narcotic pain medication. Do not take any additional Tylenol with the narcotic pain medication. Norco, Percocet, Darvocet, etc., already have Tylenol in them. Exceeding the daily maximum recommended dose of Tylenol (4000mg/day) may lead to liver toxicity.

Why do I have a hole in my mouth? How long will it be there?

This is the area where the tooth was removed, the socket. The socket will close in approximately 12–18 weeks. It is important for you to keep the socket clean and free of food debris while it is healing. 24 hours after surgery you may resume normal tooth brushing and begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.

How long will I have pain?

The amount of discomfort you have will depend on how extensive your surgery was. It is not uncommon to have some level of discomfort for at least a week or 2 after surgery. Remember it does take between 12–18 weeks for the areas to completely heal.

When can I smoke?

You should not smoke after surgery. Smoking of any kind after oral surgery interferes with the normal healing process and can increase your risk of developing a dry socket and infections. Dry sockets result in increase pain and infections result in increased pain and swelling.

I’m nauseous, what do I do?

It’s not unusual for general anesthesia and narcotic pain medication to cause nausea or vomiting in some people. Try eating prior to taking the medication or decrease the amount of the medication you are taking. Beverages like ginger ale have a soothing effect on the stomach. If you still feel ill, try switching to over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. You may call the office during regular business hours if you feel that you would like a different medication: Warminster Office Phone Number 215-672-6560.

When can I start wearing my retainer again?

You can start wearing your retainer again as soon as it is comfortable for you. You may need to leave it out for the first few days after surgery due to discomfort and swelling.

Do I need to stop taking Coumadin or blood thinners?

Our doctors will require a consult prior to any procedure if you are taking a blood thinner like Coumadin. Your safety is our number one priority.

Still have questions? Call us: Warminster Office Phone Number 215-672-6560