After dental treatment, you will receive thorough post-operative instructions from your dentist so you can recover as quickly and comfortably as possible. We encourage you to follow your dentist’s instructions to maintain your oral health. Please give us a call if you are experiencing difficulties, or if you have concerns or problems following oral surgery, dental implant placement, or a bone graft procedure. To help you understand how you can maintain your oral health following dental operations, we have provided the following resources on our website:
Post-Op Instructions for Oral Surgery
Faithful compliance with these instructions will add to your comfort and hasten your recovery. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully. Only this way will you avoid complications, which lead to unnecessary discomfort and delayed recovery. Should any undue reaction or complications arise, notify the office immediately.
We are committed to providing the same quality of care following procedures that began during your initial visits. To that end, please refer to some general post-operative guidelines below, and by all means, CALL at any hour of any day to report any continuing problem. 504-301-3590504-301-3590.
- Some degree of discomfort and pain arises as numbness subsides. At the first sign of pain or discomfort, take the pain medication prescribed. Please make sure you read the directions carefully before taking the medication. Any pain medication can cause nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you have some food in your stomach before you take them.
- DO NOT DISTURB THE AREA OF SURGERY. The first stages of healing are aided by placing tissues at rest. Avoid vigorous chewing, excessive spitting, or rinsing as initial healing may be delayed, active bleeding restarted, or infection introduced.
- Expect minor bleeding or oozing from the operative site. This bleeding may continue throughout the first day. For the first hour, keep firm pressure on the area of surgery by biting on the gauze sponge placed in your mouth at the office. If bleeding persists, continue pressure on a fresh sponge for an additional 30 minutes to an hour. Biting on a moist tea bag wrapped in gauze may help control persistent oozing from the surgical site. Tea has an ingredient that promotes blood clotting.
If active bleeding should recur at any time, carefully rinse your mouth with cold water and apply a fresh gauze sponge to the bleeding site. Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes usually controls the problem. Should active bleeding persist, please call the office.
- Limit physical activity during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Overexertion may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort. When you lie down, keep your head elevated on a pillow.
- Pain following oral surgery will be more severe within the first 6-8 hours after the operation. If you have to take the prescribed severe pain medication, remember to have some food intake prior to that and to start slowly. Please do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription pain medication. Do not wait for the pain to become unbearable before using some form of pain medication, as then it will be more difficult to control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 14-48 hours, and there should be no more than slight pain or discomfort after the third day. Persistent or increasing pain 3-4 days following oral surgery may be caused by early loss of blood clot (dry socket) or infection. If you feel that this may be happening to you, please contact us so we can help make you more comfortable.
- Swelling related to the surgical procedure usually develops during the first 12-24 hours following surgery, often increasing on the second day. It should begin to subside by the third day. Swelling can be minimized a great deal by wearing an ice pack on the side of your face for 30-45 minutes every hour while you are awake during the first 24 hours following the surgery, unless you receive special instructions. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Motrin and Advil, also decrease swelling.
- Fluid intake is important. We suggest you start with clear carbonated beverages, such as ginger ale, Seven-Up, or Sprite. Once your stomach has settled, you can advance to other fluids such as water, teas, soda, broth, soups, or juices. We suggest avoiding dairy products initially, such as milk, milk shakes, and eggs nogs. Also avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off and the bleeding has stopped. It is important to drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid using a straw for several days as it may cause the blood clot to dislodge and delay heating.
- Food selection is largely a matter of your choice. Soft, cool foods that require little or no chewing are most easily tolerated at this time. A nutritious diet throughout your healing process is most important to your comfort and temperament. Hungry people become irritable and less able to deal with discomfort following surgery. Since you will be taking medication, it is important to remember that eating can prevent nausea sometimes associated with certain medications. Once your stomach is settled, soups, broiled fish, stewed chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cooked vegetables can be added to your diet as your comfort level indicates. Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast and/or yogurt supply excellent added nutrition.
- Take any special medication such as ANTIBIOTICS we have prescribed on the specified dosing schedule. Yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus should be taken with antibiotics to prevent diarrhea. It is important to take antibiotics to completion. If you are given antibiotics and you are on birth control pills, you should be aware that the birth control pill might become ineffective; therefore, take appropriate precautions.
- Take any regularly scheduled medication (for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) on your regular schedule unless advised to do otherwise by your primary physician.
- TRY TO AVOID SMOKING COMPLETELY. Smoking greatly inhibits the healing process and may also contribute to the development of a dry socket.
- DO NOT DRIVE AN AUTOMOBILE for 24 hours following surgery if you have had tranquilizer medication, or if you are taking prescription pain medication.
DO NOT BLOW YOUR NOSE.
DO NOT SNEEZE THROUGH YOUR NOSE. (If the urge of sneeze arises, sneeze with your mouth open.)
PLEASE . . . DO NOT SMOKE OR USE A STRAW.
AVOID SWIMMING AND STRENUOUS EXERCISE FOR AT LEAST ONE WEEK.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. The night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse before bed. The day after surgery, the Peridex should be used twice a day–after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then spit it out. Warm salt-water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day as well, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is encouraged. Be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas.
It is 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 infection.
Post-Op Instructions for Day After Surgery
- On the morning of the day following surgery, rinse your mouth carefully with a solution composed of a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a large glass of warm water. Repeat three times a day until remaining soreness subsides. Resume brushing any remaining teeth and continue your regular oral hygiene habits as soon as possible. Do not avoid brushing the area, as this will cause more inflammation. 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.
- Applying a warm, moist towel to the affected side of the face several times a day can relieve ANY SWELLING, SORENESS, OR STIFFNESS IN THE JAW MUSCLES. Moist heat should be used after the first 24 hours. If swelling, tenderness, or pain should increase after the first few days, call the office.
- 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 your face during the first few days after surgery. Again, moist heat application will help relieve this condition.
What Are Dry Sockets?
Dry sockets continue to be the most common problem that people experience following dental surgery. They arise due to premature loss of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket and affect approximately one out of five patients. The condition seems to occur with greater frequency in people who smoke or are taking birth control pills. While both jaws can be affected, they usually occur in the lower jaw on the third to fifth day. They cause a deep, dull continuous aching on the affected side(s). Patients may first notice the pain starting in the ear and then radiating down towards the chin. It frequently begins in the middle of the night, and the Motrin medication usually doesn’t help. Treatment involves placing a medicated dressing in the “empty” tooth socket. This will help decrease the pain and protect the socket from food particles. The effectiveness in alleviating the pain lasts for 24-48 hours and usually will require dressing changes every day or two for five to seven days. Dressings are removed when you have been pain free for 2 -3 days. The dressing doesn’t aid in healing. The only reason to place a dressing is for pain control. If Motrin is controlling the pain, the socket will heal without dressing. An irrigation device will be given to you to help keep the food particles from lodging in the extraction site following removal of the dressing.
We appreciate your patience as we do our best to keep you comfortable during the healing process.
If you need to contact us after office hours, call the office at 504-301-3590504-301-3590.
We make every attempt to answer any emergency calls as promptly as possible. Occasionally, messages may not reach our phones. If you do not hear from the doctor within one hour, please call again. Thank you for understanding.
Post-Op Bone Graft
In addition to the general post-operative 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 this. It is normal to have some of them come out of the graft side 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 rising would be advised but not too vigorously as you can again disturb some of the bone graft granules.
If a partial, denture, or flipper is placed in your mouth, please see your dentist to have it adjusted and learn how to remove and replace it appropriately.
Post-Op Instructions for Implants
If you have endosteal implants placed, general postoperative instructions apply, but we would like to emphasize a few things:
- Placement of endosteal implants usually does not create a great deal of pain. Once again, start with Advil first.
- The night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse before bed.
- The day after surgery, Peridex should be used twice daily: after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Warm salt-water rinses (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm salt) should be used at least 4-5 times a day as well, especially after meals.
- After the first 24 hours, brush your teeth and the healing abutments with a very soft toothbrush. Do not brush the entire area. Remember to be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas. Most of the time the sutures will dissolve on their own in 8-12 days.
- If a one-stage implant was placed so that you can actually see the metal part protruding from the gum tissue, it is very important for you to keep this area clean. You may start with a Q-tip dipped in Listerine or even warm salt water. Just clean the metal part protruding from the tissue. Then you can proceed to a soft toothbrush.
- Avoid chewing hard foods on the implant sites. Chewing during the healing phase can decrease the body’s ability to heal around the implant.
- Avoid smoking completely because nicotine can decrease the body’s ability to heal around the implant.
- Avoid drinking alcohol beverages the same day as surgery. After surgery, avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Follow nutrition issues and postoperative dental hygiene compliance procedures to avoid complications.
Daily alcohol or tobacco consumption, or dependency on drugs, may have a negative influence on predictable long-term implant treatment. Good at-home oral hygiene habits must be performed daily. It is imperative you attend your scheduled follow-up appointments so your dentist can monitor your progress and ensure you are healing properly.
Please do not hesitate to call us at 504-301-3590504-301-3590 if you would like more information or if you are experiencing complications. Remember, we are here to help you!
After Care Instructions for Extractions
- We will provide you with gauze for you to bite down on. Leave the gauze in your mouth for 20 minutes. We will give you extra gauze to change as needed.
- For the first 24 hours, avoid spitting, sucking through a straw, smoking, or drinking anything with alcohol.
- Do not rinse your mouth the day of surgery. Starting the day after surgery, rinse your mouth with warm salt water three times a day for the next four weeks. Keeping your mouth clean is critical during this time.
- You may brush your teeth but we encourage you to brush gently around the extraction site.
- Place an icepack on the side of the extraction site for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off until you go to bed tonight. The longer you keep this up, the more effective the results. You will feel better tomorrow if you take this measure.
- Some bleeding is normal following extraction for two to three days. Apply pressure with gauze for 20 minutes at a time to help with the bleeding.
CALL US IMMEDIATELY TO REPORT ANYTHING UNUSUAL, INCLUDING:
- Unusual pain for more than two days after extraction.
- Bleeding that does not stop after three days.
- Swelling and redness around the extraction site after one week.
- You suspect something is wrong.