Patient Information

Oral surgery leaflets

Having minor oral surgery under local anaesthetic at Elmstead Day Unit

What is a local anaesthetic?

Your operation will be carried out under a local anaesthetic. This means that you will be awake throughout the surgery but you will be given an injection at the site of the operation so that you do not feel pain.

What are the benefits and complications?

One advantage of a local anaesthetic is that you will be able to eat and drink normally before and after surgery. You will be lying down during the procedure so we recommend you have a light meal no less than two hours before your admission.

Your recovery from a local anaesthetic will be, at most, a few hours, as opposed to one to two days following a general anaesthetic.

Before your admission

If you are unable to come to hospital for your procedure, please phone the admissions clerk as soon as possible, on the contact number given in the letter you received. This will give us time to offer the appointment to another patient. Please remember that if you do not attend for your admission, this wastes valuable time and resources that could benefit other people.

If you have any worries or concerns regarding the taking of your medicine, please contact your GP.

Ensure that you arrange time off from your usual activities so that you can recover and heal properly.

On the day of admission

  • Have a bath or shower before you come in and remove nail varnish and make-up
  • Leave jewellery, other than your wedding ring, at home. Please note: if you are having a procedure on your hand or arm, all rings from that limb will need to be removed
  • Please bring a complete list of your current medication/treatments with you and any medication that you may be due
  • Do not bring large amounts of money and/or valuables with you
  • Perhaps bring a book or magazine. You may also need to bring some change for the snack bar and/or car park
  • Please make sure you arrive at the time stated on your admission letter even though your operation may not take place until later in the morning/afternoon, because you will need to be seen by your surgeon before the operating session. The time of your admission does not indicate the time of your procedure and you may have a wait of three to four hours.

On arrival at Elmstead Day Unit

If you wish to bring your mobile phone, please switch it to silent mode. Mobile phones can be intrusive and disturb other patients, so please show consideration when using your phone in the unit.

You will be asked to hand in your admission slip at the reception desk and take a seat.

Sickness certificate

Please ask when you are being admitted if you require a sickness certificate.

The procedure for the day

Your nurse will collect you and show you to your bed space. The nurse should be able to give you an approximate time for going home. Staff should introduce themselves but if you are not sure who they are, please ask.

You will be asked to change into a theatre gown and, when it is time for your operation, a member of theatre staff will come to collect you.

Before the operation your surgeon will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. He or she will then ask you to sign a consent form to confirm you want to go ahead.

A member of the theatre teams will stay with you throughout the operation, to keep you informed. After the operation you will be taken back to the war where you will be cared for by your nurse. In some circumstances (depending on your operation) you will be taken to the recovery room, where a nurse will monitor your blood pressure and assess your need for pain relief before taking you back to the ward.

Returning to work

You will be advised before you go home when you may return to work. This depends on the procedure.

When you get home

Before going home, please make sure you have an adequate supply of over-the-counter pain medication. If your surgeon prescribes you any medication that you cannot buy over the counter and you pay for your prescriptions, the hospital will send you a bill after you go home.

Pain relief and other medication

Depending on the surgery you are having, you may be prescribed pain medication before you go home. You should take this regularly.

Do not wait for pain to start. It is important to start your pain medication as soon as possible after your operation, before the pain medication you were given during it wears off. Your nurse will tell you before you go home when you can take your next dose.

It is not advisable to take aspirin for pain relief because it thins the blood and may cause excessive bleeding. If your GP has prescribed the smaller dose of 75mg per day to help prevent heart problems, however, it is safe for you to continue taking this.

Continue with all your other medications unless advised by the hospital.

You should rest at home until the following day.

Remember – surgery in a day does not mean recovery in a day.

General Information

Elmstead Day Unit is situated at the rear of Colchester Hospital and is signposted.

If you are being brought in by car you will need change, your bank card or your phone, to pay for parking. Disabled parking is available. Information about car parking, including charges and how to pay.

Elmstead Day Unit is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

Please call 01206 742 375 or 01206 742 376 for post-discharge advice. Outside these hours please contact your GP.

In the case of an emergency, please contact Broomfield Hospital (Chelmsford) on 01245 362 000, which provides an inpatient service to oral and maxillofacial patients.

Further information about your anaesthetic may be obtained from NHS 111 or on the Your Anaesthetic website (Opens in a new window).


If you have any concerns or worries about your care, please call Elmstead Day Unit on
01206 742 375 or 742 376.



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