Post Operative Care

Home Care Instructions Following Surgery

It is important that you take it easy during the 12 hours following periodontal or dental implant surgery. This helps ensure that you are able to have a good stable blood clot form. There are three reasons why this is important:

1. When a good blood clot forms, pain is reduced. This is because the clot covers over all exposed nerve endings and protects the site of surgery.

2. When a good blood clot forms, any risk of continuous bleeding is obviously reduced (Under “Complications” below, we discuss what can be done if bleeding recurs or does not completely stop).

3. When a good blood clot forms, the risk of infection is significantly reduced. This is because the pathway for bacteria entering the site of surgery is cut off.

When taking it easy during the 12 hours after surgery, please keep the following in mind:

1. Do not exercise or do anything that elevates your heart rate or blood pressure. This prevents additional blood from being pumped to the surgery site.

2. Limit talking and chewing. Drinking liquids and eating is appropriate, but it is best to select foods that are easy to swallow and do not require a lot of chewing.

After 12 hours, the anesthetic will be gone and your pain will be under the control of pain medication. When you feel you can return to a normal routine, do so. This means you can return to routine exercise and chewing (away from the site or sites of surgery as much as possible).

Medications

Working with your general dentist, medication will be recommended to help relieve pain after periodontal or dental implant surgery. You will be informed of type and amount of medication or medications that should be taken, as well as the duration medications should be taken. Typical medication options include ibuprofen or Tylenol®.

Antibiotics

Take antibiotics as prescribed. You will be given contact information should you have any adverse reactions to the medication.

Oral Sedation

It is important that each patient is accompanied by someone who can stay with them for the first few hours after arriving at home. The patient is likely to take a nap and, because the sedative can cause short-term memory loss, it is the escort’s responsibility to tell the patient where he or she has been that day. Once the patient understands what has happened, it is alright for the escort to safely leave the patient unattended.

Sedation is considered to be in effect for 24 hours after the procedure. During this time the patient should not drive a vehicle or operate hazardous equipment.

Oral Hygiene Instructions

If prescribed, Peridex® can be used as a rinse to help rid the mouth of bacteria. Begin rinsing the day after the procedure. Rinse with one-half-ounce for 30 seconds twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. Do not drink or rinse with water for at least one hour after using Peridex®. Before rinsing, make sure your mouth has no toothpaste flavor left over from brushing. The chemicals in the flavors you taste can inactivate the germ killing ingredient in Peridex®.

If you are not prescribed Peridex®, you will likely be instructed to rinse with warm salt water. Stir one teaspoon of salt into an eight to ten ounce glass of water, rinsing two to three times. This can be done after meals.

Brushing and Flossing

After your procedure, do not brush or floss the surgical area until sutures are removed or have disappeared (if dissolving sutures are used). You are encouraged to brush and floss other areas of your mouth.

Food

For the first 12 hours after surgery, please drink liquids and eat only very soft foods. After this time has passed, you may eat most foods. For the first few weeks after surgery, please avoid popcorn, chips, nuts, and all foods with small seeds.

Good nutrition after surgery is important for optimum healing. Taking vitamins is also recommended.

Activity

Restrict any strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours following surgery.

Smoking should be avoided for the rest of your life. If you must smoke, smoke as little per cigarette as possible to calm your nerves, then stop. It is important to understand that smoking significantly slows the healing process and increases the risk of surgical complications and failures.

Complications

Should you feel any pain after your dental treatment, please do not hesitate to contact your general dentist. As always, I will work hand-in-hand with your dentist to ensure your procedure is successful. The following information is provided to help you determine the proper course of action should you have a dental emergency of other dental issue:

Emergency: If you believe that you have a life-threatening problem, immediately call 911.

Sutures: If you find that a suture (or stitch) has come loose, feel free to clip the dangling end with small scissors. Do not pull on the sutures.

Persistent bleeding: You may taste blood for the first 24 hours after surgery, but the surgery area should not be actively bleeding. Try to determine if you are seeing blood or reddish-tinged saliva. Try to locate the exact point where the bleeding is occurring. Place direct pressure on this area with wet gauze or a wet washcloth. Allow at least ten minutes to pass before removing the material to check on the bleeding. If you are unsure whether you have a problem, please call your dentist’s office.

Pain from a dental implant: Following normal post surgical soreness after a dental implant is placed, there should be absolutely no pain or swelling. If you find that there is either pain or swelling, please schedule an evaluation at your dentist’s office. Pain should be addressed as soon as possible. It can usually be addressed quickly and without the need to remove the implant, but small issues can become more serious as time passes.

Bone particles noticed: It is not unusual to discover small pieces of bone coming from an area where a bone graft was placed. This is absolutely normal. However, if you are unsure it is always wise to call your dentist.