We've compiled some of the most common questions and concerns we receive from patients after surgery. Click the buttons to read more.
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It is recommended that you refrain from alcohol intake for 3-5 days following surgery.
Alcohol can delay wound healing and/or cause increased bleeding.
Do not drink while under the influence of narcotic pain relievers.
Occasionally, post-operative oozing occurs for several hours to days after surgery. Do not be concerned if traces of blood are noted in your saliva, or on your pillow in the morning.
Applying pressure with damp gauze for 30 minutes should control heavy bleeding from the incision lines. If this is unsucessful, apply pressure with a wet tea bag.
If bleeding does not stop, please call us!
Limit activity for 72 hours following surgery.
Make sure to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
Staying inactive will not only help you avoid excess swelling, it will ensure you are healthy and ready to go as soon as possible.
Ibuprofen (Advil) -
This is an anti-inflammatory that is highly recommended to reduce pain and swelling.
Take 600mg every 6 hours as needed for pain/swelling for the first 3 days. If pain persists, continue using as needed.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) -
This is an analgesic that is useful in treating mild to moderate pain.
Take 500mg every 6 hours as needed.
Prescription pain medications often contain Tylenol, so be careful not to consume too much. Healthy patients should not exceed 4g (10 pills) per day.
Prescription Narcotics -
Can be taken every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. A good regimen is to alternate taking Ibuprofen and the prescription medication every 3 hours.
Once the pain slows, back off the narotic medication. If you are allergic to Ibuprofen, Tylenol can be substituted.
If prescribed, these should be taken until ALL pills are gone. This minimizes the risk of antibiotic resistance. Take with food to avoid upsetting your stomach.
If you have liver/kidney disease, or if you are currently taking oral contraceptives, please advise Dr. Pino to avoid known issues with antibiotics.
Although it may be tempting, avoid rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery.
After a day, you should start performing salt water rinses after every meal.
Not only will this help remove debris that collects along the sutures at your surgical site, it will also provide anti-microbial ans soothing effects.
Salt Water Rinse -
Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. of warm water.
Pour a manageable amount into your mouth and swish it around for about 30 seconds.
Spit and repeat with the remaining mixture.
Chlorhexidine (Peridex) -
This is a germicidal solution that reduces bacteria, swelling, and redness within your mouth.
Rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon (.5 oz.) of the solution for 30 seconds. Make sure to spit it out!
Repeat this twice per day 30 minutes after brushing your teeth. It's important to wait 30 minutes, otherwise the fluoride in your toothpaste will deactivate the solution's helpful properties.
Do not rinse with water/other mouth rinses, drink, or eat for 30 minutes following your use of the Chlorhexidine rinse.
The solution may cause a dark staining of your teeth and tongue. Don't worry! This will disappear once you are done using the rinse.
Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as your body recovers.
No matter how cool they may be, avoid using straws.
Liquid Food Supplements -
Chewing may be a challenge post-surgery. Consider consuming liquid nutritional alternatives, such as broth, Carnation Instant Breakfast, or Soylent.
Foods to Seek Out -
You'll want to find foods that are soft, high in protein, and require little (if any) chewing.
Examples include: fish, custards, eggs, malted milks and shakes, puddings, baby food, ice cream, and chopped/ground meat.
Foods to Avoid -
Basically, stay away from hard, hot, spicy, or difficult to chew foods.
Importantly, steer clear of seeds, popcorn, and chips, since they may get trapped under your gums.
Just because you had surgery doesn't mean you get to slack off! As per normal, make sure to continue your meticulous oral hygiene - that means brushing & flossing twice a day, folks.
However, you should avoid brushing or flossing in the area of surgery. We'll let you know when it's OK to start taking care of your whole mouth again. This is usually about a week after surgery.
Once your anesthetic wears off - typically about 1-4 hours after surgery - you may experience mild to moderate discomfort & pain.
Generally, patients describe this as being "annoying," rather then excessively painful.
It is normal to experience increased discomfort 4-8 days after surgery. But don't worry! This will diminish soon thereafter.
To help combat any pain you do experience, take a look through the Medication section of this FAQ.
For the first 72 hours (3 days) following surgery, don't smoke. At all.
Even better, avoid smoking for a full week after your surgery. This includes smoking of any substance and in any form.
Why? Smoking significantly retards surgical healing, making you more susceptible to nasty things like infections, graft/implant failure, poor surgical outcomes, and prolonged sensitivity/pain. And nobody wants that.
As tempting as it may be, do not pull or push your sutures with your tongue. If they are bothering you after the fourth complete day of healing, give us a call and we can help you out.
Self-dissolving sutures will loosen and droop after a few days. This is totally normal.
You may have a periodontal dressing at the location of your surgery. Don't be alarmed if the dressing is lost shofrtly after the surgery. The area will still heal just fine.
Swelling and bruising are common following surgery. To help alleviate this, you can apply ice pakcs to the outside of your face over the area of surgery. Only use ice packs for the first 48 hours after surgery.
When using an ice pack, press it to your face for 15 minutes, then remove for 15 minutes. Repeat as needed. Make sure to wrap a cloth around the ice pack toe avoid direct exposure to your skin.
After 48 hours, only use heat packs to reduce your swelling. These can be applied in 15 minute increments every 4 hours.
INFO FOR SPECIFIC PROCEDURES
GINGIVAL (GUM) GRAFTING
Discomfort generally occurs on your palate at the area from which the tissue was removed. Often, the surface of the palate slowly dies off and leaves a raw area - similar to the "pizza burn" you get when eating a hot slice.
You can apply Orajel to the sore area to minimize discomfort, but only after the first three days.
Avoid pulling on your lip to examine the surgical area. This pulls the tissue away from the teeth, which may prevent the best outcome. Your lip/gum area will not be stable until the second week.
You may notice a yellowish mucous discharge from the surgial area. There may even be blood. Don't worry! This discharge should stop within a few days. Please let us know if it continues after this amount of time.
You may experience increased sinus congestion following the procedure. You can use over the counter medications, such as:
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) -
This is a decongestant that helps shrink the blood vessels in your sinus passage.
Take 30-60 mg ever 4-6 hours as needed.
Oxymetazoline (Afrin) -
This is a nasal spray that helps alleviate nasal congestion.
Try your best to avoid sneezing. However, don't hold it in! This may cause increased pressure on the grafted material.
A bone graft has replaced your now missing tooth, and a small collagen dressing was placed over the top of the socket to contain the graft.
It is common that small particles of bone become dislodged and enter your mouth. Don't worry! This is a normal ocurrence.
The collagen dressing may become loose and hang into your mouth. As annoying as it might be, try to leave it alone as it reabsorbs itself natrually within 5-7 days.