Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. Be as gentle as you can around the bone grafting area. Try to maintain all graft material at the surgical site.
Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. Change the gauze pad every 30 minutes as needed. In general, use as little pressure as is needed. Remove gauze when it is no longer needed. If excessive bleeding continues, please call for further instructions.
Swelling is normal and can be minimized by applying an ice bag or a plastic bag or towel filled with ice on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice continuously for the first 24–36 hours. Swelling generally reaches a peak in 24–36 hours and then subsides over the next 3–5 days. If swelling begins to increase after the third post-operative day, please contact your doctor immediately.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids and foods. Soft food and liquids should be consumed on the day of surgery. Keep all solid food away from the surgical site. Do not drink through a straw to avoid damaging a healing clot. You may drink out of a cup or bowl, or use a spoon.
You should begin taking pain medication prior to the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, 1 or 2 Regular Strength Tylenol® (325 mg) may be taken every 6 hours (no more than 2600 mg/24-hour period). Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) may be taken instead of Tylenol®. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 3–4 tablets may be taken every 4–6 hours as needed for pain (no more than 3200 mg/24-hour period). For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed by your doctor. Be sure to take any prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection, even if you feel fine. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm saltwater rinses (a ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4–5 times a day, especially after meals. If you are given a prescription for Peridex™ Oral Rinse, rinse for 30 seconds and spit twice per day. Do not brush the 2 adjacent teeth on either side of the graft site for the first 7 days. After 7 days, you may gently brush the tooth surfaces of the adjacent teeth, as long as the bristles don’t disturb the graft site. You may floss normally, starting the day of surgery, if comfortable. Do not smoke because smoking reduces the blood flow, contaminates the healing wound, and frequently leads to infections.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are exercising, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.
Wearing Your Prosthesis
Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures should not be used immediately after surgery. You may wear these prostheses as soon as it is comfortable but only if the prosthesis doesn’t touch the graft site.
Sinus Lift Patients
Patients who have had a sinus lift procedure should also follow these additional instructions.
Do not blow your nose for at least 7 days, as the pressure will delay or damage your sinus healing. If you have to sneeze, do NOT hold it back – sneeze out. Open your mouth and try to minimize the pressure in your sinus passages.
You may use nasal decongestants, such as over-the-counter Sudafed® tablets or Afrin® Nasal Spray, to keep your passages dry, especially if you have noticed continued drainage or feel the need to blow your nose.