We are committed to providing the same quality of care following procedures that began during your initial visit. To that end, please refer to some general postoperative guidelines below, and by all means, CALL at any hour of any day to report any continuing problem.

  1. As the numbness wears off, you may experience some discomfort and pain. Take the prescription pain reliever and/or ibuprofen before the numbness subsides after eating some food. Please refer to the pain medication package for your maximum daily dose. If you are allergic to aspirin, avoid using ibuprofen. Nausea and vomiting are possible side effects of any pain treatment. Before taking these, make sure you have some food in your stomach.
  2. DO NOT DISTURB THE SURGERY AREA. Placing tissues at rest helps with the early phases of recovery. Avoid aggressive chewing, spitting, or rinsing since it may delay early healing, resume active bleeding, or introduce infection.
  3. Expect mild bleeding or oozing from the surgical site. The bleeding may continue for the first day or two. For the first hour, bite on the gauze sponge provided in your mouth at the office to apply hard pressure to the surgical region. If bleeding continues, apply pressure to a new sponge for another 30 minutes to an hour. Biting on a damp tea bag wrapped in gauze may assist with chronic seeping from the surgical site. Tea contains an element that stimulates blood clotting. Avoid sleeping or eating with gauze in your mouth. If active bleeding occurs again, rinse your mouth thoroughly with cold water and apply a fresh gauze sponge to the bleeding location. Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes generally resolves the issue. If active bleeding persists, please contact the office.
  4. LIMIT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Over exertion may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort. When you lie down, keep your head elevated on a pillow.
  5. SWELLING RELATED TO THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE typically appears within the first 12-24 hours after surgery, and generally worsens on the second to third day. It should start to subside by the third day. Swelling can be greatly reduced by wearing an ice pack on the side of your face for 30-45 minutes every hour while awake for the first 24 hours after surgery, unless you get specific instructions. Bags of frozen veggies work well as ice bags. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such Motrin or Advil, can also help reduce swelling. To minimize swelling, keep your head elevated for the first 3 to 5 days. Swelling may be more noticeable in the morning when you first wake up.
  6. FLUID INTAKE IS ESSENTIAL. We recommend that you start with clear fluids. After your stomach has calmed, you can switch to other fluids like broth, soups, or juices. Avoid hot liquids until the numbness wears off and the bleeding stops. Drink lots of fluids.
  7. AVOID USING A STRAW FOR SEVERAL DAYS 7 since it may dislodge the blood clot and postpone recovery.
  8. FOOD SELECTION is primarily up to personal preferences. Soft, chilled meals that need little to no chewing are best tolerated during this time. A balanced food during your recovery process is critical to your comfort and disposition. Hungry individuals become irritated and are less able to cope with the discomfort that might accompany surgery. Since you will be taking medicine, keep in mind that eating might help avoid nausea, which is occasionally connected with some prescriptions. Soups, mashed potatoes, grilled fish, macaroni and cheese, stewed chicken, and cooked vegetables can be introduced to your diet as your stomach feels comfortable. Ensure that Carnation Instant Breakfast and/or yogurt provide good extra nourishment. Do not chew anything till the numbness has worn off. Avoid nuts, popcorn, and other meals containing seeds.
  9. Follow the dose regimen for any prescription medications, such as ANTIBIOTICS. Yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus must be consumed when taking antibiotics to avoid diarrhea. It is critical to complete the antibiotic course. If you are given antibiotics and use birth control pills, be aware that the birth control pill could become ineffective, so take proper measures.
  10. Take regularly scheduled medications (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure) as prescribed, unless directed differently.
  11. AVOID SMOKING COMPLETELY as it might impede healing and cause dry sockets.
  12. If you underwent intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, or are taking prescription pain medication, REFRAIN FROM DRIVING OR DRINKING ALCOHOL FOR 24 HOURS after surgery.
  13. If you were informed of a sinus communication during surgery due to the tight contact between upper tooth roots and sinuses, or if you underwent surgery near or in your sinuses, please follow these guidelines. DO NOT blow your nose. DO NOT sneeze through your nose. If you have the need to sneeze, do it with your mouth open. DO NOT smoke or use a straw. AVOID swimming and heavy activity for at least a week.
  14. It is not uncommon to have a slight amount of bleeding from the nose for several days.

Please remember that occasionally a second procedure may be required if there is a persistent sinus communication.

In addition to the general postoperative instructions, we would like to emphasize a few points.

  • Your bone graft is made up of many particles. You may find some small granules in your mouth for the first several days. Do not be alarmed by these. It’s normal to have some of them come out of the graft site and into your mouth. There are some things you could do to minimize the amount of particles that become dislodged:
  • Do not vigorously rinse or spit for 3-5 days.
  • Do not apply pressure with your tongue or fingers to the grafted area, as the material is movable during the initial healing.
  • Do not lift or pull on the lip to look at the sutures. This can actually cause damage to the wound site and tear the sutures.
  • For the first day, we would suggest letting the blood clot stabilize and not even rinse your mouth. Following the first day, gentle rinsing would be advised but not too vigorously as you can again disturb some of the bone graft granules. If a partial denture or a flipper was placed in your mouth, you will probably have to see your restorative dentist to have it adjusted and learn how to remove and replace it appropriately.

The Day Following Surgery and Thereafter

On the morning of the day following surgery, rinse your mouth carefully with the solution made by adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a large glass of warm water. Repeat three times a day until the discomfort has subsided. Brush any remaining teeth and practice normal oral hygiene as soon as possible. Brushing the region should not be avoided since it will increase irritation. Please do not use a syringe or Water Pik® to aggressively rinse during the first week. This can dislodge the blood clot.

  • DO NOT WORRY ABOUT STITCHES. Stitches (also known as sutures) are usually placed to control bleeding, aid healing and help prevent food from collecting in the surgical site – – especially for lower teeth. The sutures we use dissolve in 3 to 5 days and DO NOT HAVE TO BE REMOVED.
  • ANY SWELLING, STIFFNESS, OR SORENESS IN THE JAW MUSCLES that is present 1 week after surgery can be relieved by putting on a warm moist towel to the affected side of the face several times a day. Moist heat should only be used 1 week following surgery.
  • Sometimes a soft diet may be necessary for the first few days following surgery. Most patients are able to resume regular food intake within a short time.
  • Bruising marks may appear on the skin of the face during the first few days after surgery. Moist heat application will help relieve this condition once again. An antibiotic cream may be used on the lips to promote healing.