Post-Op Instructions

Post-Op Instructions:

Your quality of comfort and care is just as important after your procedure as during your initial visit. Faithful compliance with the following instructions will add to your comfort and hasten your recovery.

Please call the office at any time with any questions or ongoing problems: 941.926.9100

If you need to contact us over the weekend or after office hours, our answering service will direct your call.

Rinsing: Avoid vigorous rinsing of the mouth. Instead, soak with salt water or H2Ocean rinse 3-4 times daily. This can start as soon as the night of surgery and should continue until instructed otherwise. Rinsing can markedly improve wound healing.

Brushing: Resume brushing your teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene, but avoid directly brushing or flossing the area of surgery. The H2Ocean/saltwater soaks will keep the surgical site clean.

Inspecting the Wound: Avoid pulling the lips in an effort to see the surgical area or removing any sutures until cleared to do so. Pulling can open the wound.

Smoking: REFRAINING FROM SMOKING is a MUST for a minimum of 72 hours following surgery. If you smoke, wound healing will be delayed and often compromised.

Pain: Discomfort is anticipated following surgery, and typically begins as the anesthetic wears off. It is best to use pain medication prior to the onset of pain—by administering the first dose following some food, while still numb. Re-dosing should then be done by the clock—typically every 3-6 hours as prescribed. Take medication with a full glass of water and after eating. Do NOT drive or operate machinery while taking prescription pain medication. Please note surgical pain often intensifies over the first 2-3 days. To avoid nausea, do not take medications on an empty stomach.

Swelling: Swelling following surgery is to be expected. To help reduce swelling, apply an ice pack adjacent to the surgical area for the first 24 hours. This should be done for 20-30 minutes on and off to avoid freezing the tissues. After 24 hours, transition to the application of warm moist heat. Peak swelling occurs between day 3 and 5. Be aware that swelling increases before it plateaus, and eventually resolves.

Bruising: Black and blue discoloration is related to bleeding that occurs after the wound has been closed. While the onset of bruising can be delayed, it is not uncommon. Some individuals and certain procedures are associated with more profound bruising. Blood thinners or non-steroidal medications are prone to his. Reassurance is offered here, as post-surgical bruising follows a pattern that initially darkens, often moving downwards with gravity and fading to yellow then disappearing within 7-10 days. Moist heat and massage can help resolve the bruising.

Bone Graft/InFuse Bone Graft Patients: Peak swelling and bruising can and often are delayed. Don’t be alarmed. Dependent upon the graft type, swelling will progress after surgery, typically peaking at day 5. Some grafts induce bone growth and generate sustained swelling for 10 days. This is particularly true of InFuse (recombinant BMP-II grafts). You may find some small granules in your mouth during the first several days; this is normal and is not cause for alarm.

Bleeding: Expect minor bleeding or oozing from the operative site. (Your saliva will be pink in color.) To minimize this, keep the gauze given to you after surgery on the area for 30-40 minutes. Gauze pressure may be reapplied if the area is still oozing. Once the oozing has slowed down, do not replace gauze or any other irritant to near the surgical site, as this will only increase oozing and discomfort. If you experience ACTIVE continuous bleeding, please call the office and a member of the surgical team will assist you. Avoid strenuous activities or hot stimulants such as coffee or tea. On the night of your procedure, you may wish to place a towel on your pillow to avoid any staining of your sheets.

Diet: Continue taking nourishment. Always think: COLD for the first 24 hours. Avoid using straws, as the suction can dislodge clots or sutures. Avoid foods that are thermally hot and spicy hot for a period of 1 week. Soft foods are the best to eat for the first few days following surgery. Example of soft foods include pasta, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, Ensure smoothies or milkshakes, or oatmeal. Avoid “crunchy” foods such as chips or popcorn for a minimum of two weeks.

Stiffness: Stiffness of the lower jaw is known as trismus. This tends to relax after 3-4 days and can be improved upon with gentle stretching and moist heat. Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen may also help.

Bone Fragments: During the healing process, small sharp fragments of bone may loosen and work their way through the gum tissue. This is a natural process.

Numbness: After a surgical procedure, numbness of the lips or tongue may occur. This is usually temporary and is known as paresthesia. In some cases, sensation may not be regained for several months.

Pain in Other Teeth: Following an extraction, the surrounding bone, tissues and associated nerves often become inflamed. This can lead to other teeth in the area becoming sensitive. Known as referred pain, this issue is usually short in duration and resolves on its own.

Temperature: You may experience an increase in body temperature during the first few days following surgery. This is common and is not related to infection, but rather to an after-effect of deep or general anesthesia.

Denture Patients: Patients who receive immediate dentures or partials at the time of surgery should wear them for 24 hours if possible. Pain or poor retention can prompt their removal prior to this goal, but no worries—they can be fitted or adjusted by your dentist or Dr. Middleton at a later date.

Emergency: Our office maintains an answering service to address most after-hours calls: 941.926.9100. If you are experiencing a true dental emergency, please call 911.

We cannot stress enough that only by following all instructions carefully will you avoid complications that may lead to unnecessary discomfort and delayed recovery.

Post-Operative Instructions Form