As you are aware, your new dentures have been placed immediately following your dental extractions. To make your first few weeks as comfortable as possible, please be aware of the following.
It is essential that you
- Keep your dentures seated in place by gently biting down.
- Rest at home today, and keep talking to a minimum.
- Do not take your denture out until you see either your dentist or your oral surgeon.
- Wear your cold packs over the surgical areas for the rest of the day.
- Do not smoke today.
- Take medication for discomfort before your freezing totally wears off.
Most of your bleeding will have subsided by the time you leave the office or hospital. It is expected that some oozing will occur for the first 24–72 hours after surgery, especially if you have been taking aspirin or a blood thinner. Once you arrive home, change the absorbent gauze pads every 30 minutes until bleeding is minimal. Keep your dentures gently and firmly together to help stop bleeding.
Do not take your denture out at home. You will be seeing your dentist/denturist for removal and possible adjustment of the denture during the first week after surgery. If you remove the denture early, you and/or your dentist may be unable to reinsert for several days.
Beginning tomorrow, rinse your mouth with slightly salty (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a tall glass of warm water) to dislodge any food particles from around the denture. Once you are allowed to remove your denture, you will want to begin rinsing the extraction sites/stitches 3–4 times per day.
Swelling and Bruising
Swelling and bruising often occurs after surgery and are completely normal. Swelling typically increases for the first 3–4 days and then gradually subsides over the following 3–7 days. Applying cold/ice packs the entire day of your surgery is very helpful to minimize the amount of swelling you will experience. Wear them even if you feel there is little initial swelling. Keep the cold packs against your cheeks for 30 minutes, and then chill them in the freezer for 30 minutes before re-applying.
Following oral surgery, you can expect some degree of discomfort. This typically last 2–6 days and is much like a crampy tenderness. The degree varies depending upon the difficulty or extent of the surgery. By the end of the first week, you may develop a tender denture sore where the new denture is a bit tight or is rubbing. Your dentist/denturist may need to adjust the denture to eliminate these sores periodically while the denture settles over the first few months.
Take the medications as directed on the bottle. The medication prescribed should keep you relatively comfortable and is best taken with fluid or food in your stomach. For mild discomfort, Tylenol® or Advil® (ibuprofen) may be used. Some pain medications can cause dizziness; do not drive. Antibiotics should be taken until the full prescription is used. Women need to be aware that certain antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptive medications.
Nausea may occur after an anesthetic or from some medications. If this happens, purchase some over-the-counter medication from your pharmacy. If this does not help, contact your doctor to notify him. Slow sips of ginger ale, 7-UP®, or apple juice often helps.
Your sutures are usually the dissolving type and will either fall out within the first few weeks, or they may be gently removed at our office.
Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking and alcohol both delay healing and may lead to complications. Do not smoke or drink alcohol for at least 48 hours following surgery.
Most people can begin drinking fluids once they get home. Do not wait for the freezing to be gone. Start with clear fluids initially and progress to soup (such as chicken or beef broth), fruit, or vegetable juice. The evening of surgery is fine to start milk products, such as milkshakes, yogurt, and pudding. Drink as much as you are able. Small amounts should be taken frequently. A vitamin supplement is a good idea. Protein shakes such as Boost® and Ensure® are very good.
Your eating habits will have to change. Before taking food into the mouth, allow the teeth to come together and swallow. This seats the dentures and brings the tongue into normal position. Now, open the mouth slowly, but only wide enough to receive a small quantity of food. Chew slowly on the side that is easiest to chew on, then the other side, and eventually, chew on both sides. Advance your diet over the next few weeks to include softer items such as pasta, scrambled eggs, well-cooked vegetables, fix, etc. Avoid straws or the first few days as the suction can cause bleeding.
The insertion of immediate dentures will usually increase the flow of saliva for a few days. Some patients are very aware of this increase, while others never comment. Swallow more often and become determined to learn to use the denture. Rinsing with cold water occasionally and dissolving a hard candy or mint in the mouth will help make your mouth feel fresher.
Dentures can be dislodged simply by sneezing and coughing, which creates abnormally high air pressure against the dentures. Simply place a hand over the mouth when sneezing, coughing, or yawning. Practice your word pronunciation by speaking out loud at home. Some people find that practicing in front of a mirror increases their confidence quicker.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call our office at (360) 293-2808. Our after-hours emergency number is (360) 647-4027.