After leaving the office, relax for the remainder of the day. Avoid strenuous activity for several days.
Some discomfort is expected when the anesthesia (“numbness”) wears off. Therefore, it is usually best to take the first dose of the prescribed anti-inflammatory analgesic (pain medication) while the surgical site is still anesthetized (“numb”).
Take medications as instructed. Variation from the prescribed regimen can affect healing and the success of your procedure. Generally, medications should not be taken on an empty stomach. IMPORTANT:Driving or operating dangerous equipment while taking narcotics (e.g. Tylenol #3® or Vicodin®) can be very dangerous. Also, you should not consume alcohol while taking narcotics. If any adverse reactions to the medications should arise, such as nausea, itching, swelling, or any allergic symptoms, please contact the office immediately and discontinue all medications immediately.
There should be minimal bleeding after the surgery is completed. There may be a pink discoloration of your saliva for several hours. Frank bleeding (bright red) is not to be expected. Should bleeding occur, apply a moistened tea bag (not herbal tea) to the surgical area with a firm but gentle pressure for 15 minutes; let rest for 15 minutes, then repeat for a second time only. If excessive bleeding continues, please notify the office.
In order to minimize swelling following surgery, apply an ice bag wrapped in a towel to the outside of the face in the operated areas, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, for a period of 4 hours. Gentle rinsing with cold liquids will also help reduce swelling. This should not be done with a straw as suction can activate bleeding. For any residual swelling after the first 48 hours, heat is encouraged (hot water bottle, heating pad, etc.) to increase circulation and promote healing. If the swelling becomes progressively more severe after 2-3 days, notify the office.
Sutures (“stitches”) are placed to hold the gingival tissues in the proper position for ideal healing. If sutures (“stitches”) were placed, your doctor will want you to return so that they can be fully removed once sufficient healing has occurred. DO NOT DISTURB THE SUTURES WITH YOUR TONGUE, TOOTHBRUSH OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER SINCE DISPLACEMENT WILL IMPAIR HEALING. If you notice that a suture has come out or come loose, notify the office.
It is important to maintain a normal level of oral hygiene in the non-operated areas by brushing and flossing. Care should be taken not to disrupt the healing areas. You may rinse gently with salt water or mouth wash (e.g. Listerine®). After your sutures have been removed, generally after 2 weeks, you should lightly clean the teeth in the operated area using an extra soft toothbrush.
Avoid vigorous rinsing for the first 12-24 hours following surgery. Cold water held in the mouth during the first 12-24 hours may help reduce slight bleeding. After 24 hours you should start warm (not hot) salt water rinses (1/2 tsp. salt in a tall glass of water) 3-4 times per day for the week after surgery.
It is necessary to maintain a relatively normal diet throughout the course of healing. POST SURGICALLY IS NOT THE TIME TO START A DIET. For the first few days, soft foods can be eaten. Avoid any hard, gritty foods such as peanuts, popcorn, chips or hard bread for the next 3-4 days. Also, it is best to avoid hot or highly seasoned foods for the next 24 hours. Chewing should be done predominantly on the side opposite the surgical site. It may be necessary to stick to liquids for the first day, if chewing is uncomfortable.
All smoking should be stopped until after your sutures have been removed to ensure the best healing and success of your surgical procedure. If you can’t quit completely, you should at least refrain from smoking for the first 24-48 hours to avoid interfering with the healing process. HEALING RESULTS ARE SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE IN SMOKERS THAN IN NON-SMOKERS.
All intake of alcohol should be stopped until your sutures have been removed and minimized for the next several weeks after suture removal to enhance healing. The combination of alcohol and certain pain medications is not recommended.