Most patients experience very little discomfort or pain during maxillofacial surgery. This is because anesthetics are used to dull or block nerve receptors. The most common forms of anesthesia include local anesthesia (typically administered with an injection), nitrous oxide (sometimes called “laughing gas”), intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia.

Moderate discomfort, nausea, or swelling are common during the 24 hours following surgery. Mild discomfort or pain following surgery can be treated with simple anti-inflammatory medications or more powerful prescription medications.

After surgery

Some patients experience mild nausea and/or vomiting immediately following surgery. This is normal. If you experience a fever or difficulty breathing, however, contact our office or emergency medical services immediately.

Do not rinse your mouth, consume alcohol, or smoke on the day of your surgery. And avoid smoking and alcohol for 72 hours following surgery. Rinse your mouth at least three times per day for at least two straight days following your surgery, using a solution of a half-teaspoon of salt in a glass of hot water.

If pressure dressings, such as gauze pads, have been placed over your surgical area to control bleeding and swelling, keep them in place until they are totally saturated. On the first day following surgery, do not rinse, suck on a straw, or spit.

If you’ve had one or more teeth pulled, keep an ice bag on your face for 20 minutes at a time, leaving 10 minutes between applications. This will keep the swelling down. If swelling continues after 48 hours, use only moist heat by applying a face towel for 30 minutes every hour.

Wet tea bags or folded pieces of sterile gauze can usually control minor bleeding and can be placed over the affected area. Make sure to bite down firmly, but not hard, and keep ice on the outside of your face. Over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, can greatly alleviate most pain following surgery.

It is very important to drink as much fluids as possible following surgery. “Safe” fluids include soups, fruit juices, milk, and milkshakes.

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