1. The face and jaw will probably swell. Swelling is most marked within the first 48- 72 hours. Swelling may take a week to disappear.
2. Stiffness (trismus) of the jaws is Nature’s way of splinting and resting the part that needs to be repaired.
Prolonged or recurrent stiffness may be a warning of underlying infection. Please notify the office of stiffness if it seems prolonged or recurrent.
3. Numbness of the lower lip and chin and on the side of the tongue may occur on the day of the surgery. This is called “paresthesia,” and though it may be permanent, it is generally a temporary condition which will correct itself. It may remain anywhere from a few days to several months.
4. Black and blue marks (ecchymosis) on the face are caused by seepage of blood beneath the cheeks, chin or under the eye (blackeye). This may appear initially as a swelling, but often by the second or third day it may discolor the face. The color may progress from black-and blue to yellow-and-green, and the color may progress down your face onto your neck. It will gradually disappear over a week or two. Moist external heat will assist in resolving the surgically created bruise.
5. You may have a slight earache.
6. You may have a sore throat.
7. Other teeth will possibly ache temporarily. This is called sympathetic or referred pain, and is only temporary.
8. Your “bite” may seem to have shifted. This also passes quickly, but that often happens when you alter your chewing pattern such as was the case during your immediate post-surgery diet of yogurt and ice-chips.
9. If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry out and become cracked. The lips should be kept moist with a cream or ointment.
10. During the healing process, small sharp fragments of bone may work up through the gum tissue. This is especially true after multiple extractions and is Nature’s way of reshaping the ridge. This process of “shedding” slivers of bone may last anywhere from 2-4 weeks. If there is difficulty with some of these slivers, please call the office and arrange for an appointment. Impressions for bridges, partial dentures or full dentures should be postponed until the ridge is well healed – usually six weeks.
11. There may be a tenderness and ropy feeling to the vein used to administer the sedative at the time of the surgery. This is a local phlebitis (irritation of the vein) and is usually self-limiting. Local heat and elevation of the arm will help. In time (2-4 months), the vein will soften and blood will flow through it again, or it will shrink and become threadlike and unnoticeable. If the area becomes swollen, red, warm, and very tender, concern then turns to an active phlebitis in the vein. Please notify the office if you have any concern.
12. You may have a slight temperature elevation for 24-48 hours. If fever persists, it can be a warning of infection or dehydration. Drink fluids and, if fever persists, notify the office.
13. Rarely, a localized abscess occurs in the surgery site 2, 3, or even 4 weeks after the surgery. If you have a sensation of pain, swelling, stiffening of the jaw or fever, please contact the office.