Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

When I had my wisdom teeth taken out, I was told not to eat anything before the appointment. What about for this procedure?

When you had your wisdom teeth removed, you may have been given a general anesthetic that put you to sleep. At our office, you will be given a local anesthetic and we recommend having a light meal before the appointment.

If you have been prescribed sedative (anti-anxiety) medication, a light meal shortly before the appointment is still OK. If you have a diabetic condition, then it is essential that you have normal meals and follow your physician’s recommendations.

My normal meal includes several cups of coffee followed by a cigarette, is that OK too?

No. Coffee will only make you more nervous and uncomfortable, especially because bathroom breaks may result in longer procedure time for you.

Tobacco in any form should not be used at all on the day of surgery and for as long afterward as possible! Nicotine is a potent constrictor of blood vessels, shutting off the blood supply that is critical for wound healing. If you cannot resist the cravings, then use a dermal patch (not nicotine gum!) to sustain your addiction.

When do I start using the prescription mouthwash?

We will have you rinse your mouth with the prescription mouthwash immediately before the procedure. Swish it vigorously around all of your teeth for 30 seconds, then spit out (expectorate) the excess. This greatly reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth so your wound will be less contaminated during the operation.

When prescribed post-operatively, the prescription mouthwash is used twice daily once in the morning, and once before bedtime.

Can I use the mouthwash more than twice a day?

No. The active ingredient in the rinse stays in your mouth for 12-14 hours. Using the mouthwash more often does not increase its effectiveness, but it does increase the side-effects of staining and tartar accumulation.

I don’t like taking pills, so can I stop taking the antibiotic if I feel OK?

Absolutely not. There is more than one type of bacteria present in your mouth and different bacteria are affected by the antibiotics at different rates. If you stop taking the antibiotic early, the resistant bacteria will multiply and the remaining bacteria will be more difficult to treat.

Why can’t I just take my sedative pills and then quickly drive to my appointment?

When a sedative is prescribed, we require that you have a driver that will bring you to our office and take you home. Though it may be a while before you feel the effect of the medication, absorption can occur quickly in your stomach. You could hurt yourself or others or get a DUI!

Can’t I just take the bus or call a cab for the ride home?

No. Even just walking down the steps outside our office, you could fall and hurt yourself. For your safety, you must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

What do I do when the numbness wears off?!!

It is easier to prevent pain than to relieve it. Prior to the procedure, we will give you Advil or Tylenol in our office; this will get you well on your way to a comfortable recovery.

After the surgery you will feel some discomfort, so start taking a pain-reliever (Advil or Tylenol) before the numbness is gone. You will also be given a prescription for additional pain relief if necessary. Remember, don’t wait for it to get worse, and stay ahead of the pain.

I was feeling better a few days after my surgery, but now my teeth feel high and tender when I bite, my jaws ache and even my ear hurts. What’s happening?

A normal part of wound healing is swelling, so when the tissue around your teeth swells, it will move the teeth slightly out of position. This usually starts two to four days after the surgery and lasts for about three to four days. Your bite reflex will sense this and you may unconsciously clench to reposition your teeth.

If you already have the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, this can become especially uncomfortable. It pushes your teeth back into swollen/tender sockets, further bruising the surrounding tissue and creating a vicious cycle. This creates the feeling of a bone bruise, a dull throbbing ache in the jaw above and below the wound.

Muscle spasms may occur, especially overnight, in the area of your cheek, ear, temple, and even the back of your head. Don’t be alarmed. Continue to follow your post-operative instructions and if you have further questions or concerns, please call the emergency number we have provided you with in the post-operative instruction sheet.

After the dressing came off, my teeth were really sensitive to cold. Why?

The roots of your teeth are normally sensitive to cold, somewhat like an unfilled cavity would be sensitive. The dressing was placed to assure the gums did not reform pockets, so with the loss of insulation, you will really feel anything cold.

Also, any injury to a tooth results in a nerve that is extra-sensitive. This sensitivity will lessen greatly over the next few weeks. You can facilitate the healing process by keeping your teeth plaque-free and using a concentrated fluoride mouth rinse called ACT.