Mouth surgery, like any surgical procedure, requires that the patient pays careful attention to the post-operative care instructions. For example, after tooth extraction, it’s important to leave the gauze pad in place for the initial 30 minutes after leaving the clinic.
You must not sleep with the gauze pad in your mouth.
Even a sleeping patient should never be left unattended or allowed to sleep with the gauze pad in the mouth. A patient who is sleeping following surgery should be aroused every 20 or so minutes to check the gauze. The gauze pads should also be changed before they get blood-soaked.
How Long Should The Gauze Pad Remain
After tooth extraction, your dentist gives you a gauze pad to bite on over the extraction site. You should firmly but gently bite on the gauze to reduce bleeding and to allow a blood clot to form inside the empty tooth socket. Make sure, however, that you don’t chew on the gauze pad.
The longer you can keep the pad in place the better but ensure that the gauze is changed after roughly every 30 minutes, depending on the intensity of bleeding. Give special care to the placement of the piece, making sure it remains over the surgical site and that it doesn’t lie between your teeth.
Replacing The Gauze
If you are still experiencing active bleeding, you need to replace the gauze pad with a moistened, fresh piece and not wait for the recommended 30 minutes. Firmly but gently bite down for 45 minutes and repeat the gauze replacement as necessary until there is minimal bleeding. Remember, it’s not unusual to experience residual bleeding for up to 24 hours after tooth extraction.
It is important that the gauze pad is left in place for about 3 to 4 hours following the tooth extraction or until a blood clot has formed. Remember to do all that you can to ensure the blood clot remains in the socket as dislodging it can cause a painful dry socket. A clot forms better when the gauze is in place.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.