Neal, Leonard, and Sorensen Implant, Facial, and Oral Surgery

Gauze 101

We get dozens of questions every week about how to use gauze after an extraction.  How long do I leave it in?  Can I eat with it in my mouth?  How many days should I use it?  What if I run out?  Should I moisten it in with anything?  I’ve heard of using tea bags, what’s that about?

Here’s the lowdown: the main reason we have patients use gauze is to apply direct pressure to the extraction/surgery site.  Yes, it absorbs blood, too, but bleeding is usually well under control before we allow patients to leave our office.  By folding the gauze (we use 3×3 size) into a small square, it creates enough thickness so that when the gauze is placed directly over the surgical site, it applies pressure to the wound when the patient bites his or her teeth together.  Pressure is the magic word!  Generally, you only need to leave the gauze in place as long as the site is actively oozing or bleeding.  We recommend leaving the gauze in place, with direct biting pressure, for about one hour.  After an hour, remove the gauze and evaluate the surgical site.  In most cases, the surgical site will ooze slowly for several hours and taper off until you won’t need the gauze anymore.  While the site continues to ooze, just change the gauze once per hour.  You may think changing it more often will help, but actually, removing the gauze too often can dislodge a blood clot and start the bleeding up again.  It’s normal for most patients to use gauze for several hours following surgery, but having to use gauze the following day, is not normal.

In addition to evaluating the surgical site when you remove gauze, look at the used gauze pack as well.  If it’s wet with mostly pink fluid and some red, you will likely not need to use gauze for much longer.  (maybe 1 or 2 more one hour cycles)  Many people misinterpret wet, pink gauze for bleeding, when actually, just a little blood mixed with your saliva turns it pink.  If the gauze is competely soaked and dark red all over, you probably have not been applying enough pressure.  In that case, place a new gauze pack, lie down, and bite continuously, without talking or eating for an hour.  If those actions do not decrease the bleeding, you may need to give your surgeon’s office a call.  We always supply our surgical patients with ample gauze, but if you should run out, just call us and you can come and pick up some more.  If that’s not convenient, you can pick up gauze at any drugstore, some grocery stores, or big retailers like Target, Fred Meyer, and Wal Mart.

When you’re ready to eat or drink something, remove the gauze, consume your milkshake, jamba juice, or jello (or whatever sounds tasty), and then place a fresh gauze pack.  Eating or drinking with gauze in place is not a good idea.

We sometimes get questions about tea bags.  Here’s the deal- black tea contains tannic acid, which can aid in clotting.  If you’re having particular difficulty with keeping your bleeding under control, you can moisten a tea bag, wrap it in gauze and bite on it.  In most cases, plain gauze works fine, but if you want to try the tea route, go for it.

As always, if you think something is not normal, or you’re having difficulties with bleeding, or anything else for that matter, just call us.  We’re glad to help you over the phone, and we always have a surgical staff member on call, 24/7.  Hopefully, this clears up some of those gauze mysteries.

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Are you a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Whether you are a young, middle-aged or older adult; whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth, there is a dental implant solution for you. With the exception of growing children,dental implants are the solution of choice for people of all ages, even those with the following health concerns:

EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS:  If you can have routine dental treatment, you can generally have an implant placed. While precautions are advisable for certain conditions, patients with such chronic diseases as high blood pressure and diabetes are usually successful candidates for dental implant treatment.

GUM DISEASE or PROBLEM TEETH: Almost all implants placed in patients who have lost their teeth to periodontal disease or decay have been successful.

CURRENTLY WEARING PARTIALS or DENTURES: Implants can replace removable bridges or dentures, or they can be used to stabilize and secure the denture, making it much more comfortable.

SMOKERS: Although smoking lowers the success rate of implants, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of getting them.

BONE LOSS: Bone loss is not uncommon for people who have lost teeth or had periodontal disease. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained and experienced in grafting bone to safely and permanently secure the implant.

Implant tooth replacement in children is usually deferred until their jaw growth is complete. There are, however, some  instances when a dental implant may be appropriate, such as when it is part of the child’s orthodontic treatment plan. Your family dentist or orthodontist can guide you in this instance.

” There was no discomfort at all. The procedure was pain-free and fast. There was no discomfort afterwards, whatsoever. My new teeth feel like a natural part of me. They also make me feel and act more naturally again– smiling with confidence, chewing on both sides like normal. I can definately recommend this to others. ”

Losing Teeth

LOOK YOUNGER: When you lose your teeth, your jawbone can shrink– making you look older. Implants help stabilize bone levels after tooth loss.

EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT: Like natural teeth, your new teeth are strong, stable, and secure, so you can comfortably eat all your favorite foods.

A LIFE-LONG SOLUTION: Dental Implants are a long-lasting solution- often for life.

A HAPPIER LIFE: Beautiful new teeth can give you back the confidence you may have lost. They can transform your daily life!

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Implants have many advantages over dentures, bridges, and other prostheses. Implants will:

*Look and function like natural teeth

*become a permanent part of the mouth, integrated with the surrounding bone

*not slip, move, or irritate gum tissue ( unlike dentures )

*provide patients a secure and stable fit

*restore up to 90% of chewing power lost with missing teeth

*improve the quality of life for a significant number of patients

*give patients more confidence when speaking and chewing

Conclusion:   Dental Implants have many advantages over dentures, bridges, and other prosthetics. Implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth.  Implants give patients a brighter smile, maintain the integrity of the mouth, improve oral health, prevent bone loss and enhance chewing efficiency.  Every patient missing teeth, regardless of age, is a candidate for implants.

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“Don’t eat or drink anything for 8 hours before your appointment”

What’s up with not eating or drinking before a surgical appointment under anesthesia?  Here’s why it’s dangerous- when you’re under anesthesia, your muscles, including the muscles and reflexes in your throat are relaxed and the chance that you could vomit while you’re sedated is increased.  If you have any food or liquid in your stomach, you could aspirate (inhale into your lungs) whatever was vomited.  Aspirating anything at all can be potentially fatal, if it’s not addressed.  Sooo, we’re not just trying to make your life difficult, by asking you not to eat or drink, we’re trying to keep you safe and make your procedure as complication-free as possible.

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“Thank You” from a patient

“Your office was so kind to me in a huge time of need. I can’t thank you enough for what you all did for me. I would love to stay in touch. Thank You!!  Blessings to you all.”

This note was from a sweet patient who has some physical disabilities. Her taxi dropped her off at the wrong office, and she went through an ordeal just to get to us. We squeezed her into our schedule, helped her out with her procedure, and did our best to turn her “bad day” around. One of our staff members, Betsy, volunteered to drive her home when she was finished, so she wouldn’t have to wait for a taxi again. She returned for a follow up and brought banana bread and a thank you card. We love helping out patients like her!

Ever heard of pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis is a common problem in young adults when a tooth is not fully erupted into the mouth yet.   It usually occurs between 17 to 24 years of age, because that’s  when the third molars normally start erupting.   It occurs when the tissue around a wisdom tooth has become infected because bacteria have invaded the area. Poor oral hygiene and mechanical trauma on nearby tissue can cause this inflammation, also.  Although, it can be impossible to effectively brush the necessary area and prevent this from occurring due to a partially erupted tooth.   Food impaction and caries (tooth cavities) are also problems associated with third molar pain.

Treatment for minor symptoms of pericoronitis (spontaneous pain, localized swelling, purulence/drainage, foul taste) is irrigation. Major symptoms of pericoronitis (difficulty swallowing, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, limited mouth opening, facial cellulitis/infection) are usually treated with antibiotics. In most instances the symptoms will recur and the only definitive treatment is extraction. If left untreated, however, recurring infections are likely, and the infection can eventually spread to other areas of the mouth. The most severe cases may require intravenous antibiotics and surgery.

We see patients with pericoronitis almost every day!  It’s a very common problem, and it’s not hard to treat.  Looking for a fabulous oral surgeon?   Call Neal OMS or check out  (I’m not biased, or anything, but they’re the best!)

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Wednesday In Kirkland…

…is gorgeous and springy outdoors, and lucky for me I have an amazing view from my front office terminal! I LOVE the blossoms snowing on my car, even if my allergies do not.

News from the Front:

Surgical assistant Tiffany is having a baby GIRL we just found out! We cannot wait to meet little Ava Hope  this fall! Northgate treatment coordinator Amy is having a girl also this July; we look forward to the arrival of Baby Sydney Elyse.

Hope you all are enjoying your Wednesday afternoon

Peace! Corinne Spranger, Treatment Coordinator