From time to time, patients call our office for information regarding their recovery. At times, more urgent calls are made to our after-hours emergency line. The following information has been compiled to help address some of these questions and to provide encouragement to those of you who may be concerned about possible problems.
The most common reason for post-operative calls is pain. It is normal that pain slowly increases for the first few days. The worst days are typically the second and third day of healing. In our experience, patients often wean themselves from their pain medication too soon. It is important to take pain medications at the proper dosage, with the proper schedule, and for the proper duration. If you have questions or concerns regarding your medications, please contact our office or speak with your pharmacist.
If patients who have been taking pain medication correctly still have significant pain that is radiating to the temple and neck, these patients may be experiencing a dry socket. This occasionally occurs 5 to 10 days after the removal of lower wisdom teeth. A dry socket is not dangerous, but it must be seen quickly so that a medicated dressing can be placed. This will improve symptoms in less than 10 minutes.
For patients who have been treated with sedation, it is important that a responsible adult stays with you for 24 hours after surgery. Our team will not discharge a patient from our facility until specific recovery criteria are met. However, re-sedation may occur in rare instances, as these medications may take a full 24 hours to completely leave the system. These patients will need assistance with walking, as they may be more prone to falling.
New swelling of the face with redness and warmth of the skin is likely an infection. These patients may have new or prolonged pain beyond the initial swelling stage. A fever may be present. Some patients suspect infection when they notice something white covering their wound. This is often normal immature gum tissue that has not yet fully healed and requires no treatment.
The prevention of problems is certainly more beneficial than having to treat complications. This is why we emphasize the importance of following our post-operative instructions. Please review our other videos and written instruction sheets, or visit our website for more information.
If you do have concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here if you need us, and we are more than happy to help.