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. 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. Change the gauze pad every 30 minutes as needed. Remove gauze when there is no more bleeding. If excessive bleeding continues, please call for further instructions.
We often place a collagen sponge over the graft material to assist with establishing a blood clot and initially protecting the graft material. This sponge-like material may dislodge from the site. This is not concerning. If you can reposition it, please do so. If needed, it can be easily be removed without concern.
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 24–36 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 our office immediately.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or foods. Soft foods and liquids should be consumed on the day of surgery. Keep all solid food away from the surgical site.
You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off. Ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) may be taken. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 3–4 tablets may be taken every 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. 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.
Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Unless you have an adverse reaction, be sure to take the entire course of antibiotics.
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 3 times a day, especially after meals. 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. A child’s toothbrush with soft bristles is the most effective for the surgical area. You may floss normally starting the day of surgery, if comfortable.
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.
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.