Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound in the post-operative period. Be as gentle as you can around the bone grafting area. Try to maintain all graft material at the surgical site. You will have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Curtis and should be very cautious with the area until you return to see him.
Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. You can control excessive bleeding (where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. In general, use as little pressure as needed. Change the gauze pad every 30 minutes as needed. Remove gauze when it is no longer needed. If excessive bleeding continues, please call for further instructions.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack (or a plastic bag or towel filled with ice) on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice continuously, as much as possible, for the first 24 hours. Swelling generally reaches a peak in 24 hours and then subsides over the next 3–5 days. After the first 24 hours, we recommend using moist heat for a few minutes every few hours. If swelling begins to increase after the third post-operative day, please contact your doctor immediately.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or foods. Soft foods and liquids should be consumed on the day of surgery and until your follow-up appointment. Keep all solid food away from the surgical site and as much as possible handle food on the opposite side of your mouth.
You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears 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 (also known as 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. (Please note: if this prescription has Tylenol [APAP] in it, see the above comments.) Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it. This may include patients with liver or kidney disease. We recommend the use of Exparel®, which is a long-lasting anesthetic, to alleviate pain and reduce the need for narcotic pain medication. Please ask us about options with Exparel at your evaluation.
Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm saltwater rinses (a 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. Rinsing should be gentle and not forceful. 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.
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.