It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and avoid complications.
It is normal to experience some bleeding or redness in your saliva 24 hours after the procedure. If you experience excessive bleeding, place a moistened gauze pad directly on the wound and bite down for at 30-45 minutes. Do not spit-this will promote bleeding. Repeat as needed. Call for further instructions if bleeding persists after 5-6 gauze changes.
Swelling is our body’s natural reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The amount of swelling you experience will depend on the extent of the surgery. It is normal to experience swelling of the cheeks, eyes, sides of the face, and around the mouth. Swelling will not be visible until the day after surgery and will not reach its maximum until the second postoperative day. Swelling can be minimized by applying ice packs immediately following surgery. Apply ice packs continuously during the first 36 hours, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, and sleep with your head elevated. After 48 hours, the ice is no longer beneficial.
If swelling and jaw stiffness persists for several days, do not be alarmed, this is a normal reaction to surgery. Forty-eight hours after surgery, you may begin to apply moist heat to the outside of your face, this will help to further reduce swelling. Sleep with your head elevated at a 30-degree angle for the first two days after surgery. Following these instructions will ensure a quick recovery with less swelling and post-operative pain.
Take only fluids until the feeling in your mouth has completely returned. Chewing foods while your mouth is still numb can lead to tongue and cheek biting, which will result in painful ulcers once the numbing medication has worn off. Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods on the day of surgery. A healthy diet with good calorie intake is important during the initial healing phase.
Avoid food that is:
- Small (like seeds)
Caution: You may feel dizzy or faint when standing up from a lying or sitting position. If you are lying down after surgery, sit up slowly and place your feet on the ground. Stay seated with your head elevated for one minute before standing. On occasion, a patient may faint following sedation/anesthesia due to a lack of blood flow to the brain. If the escort witnesses the patient fainting, please elevate the patient’s legs above their head for 30 seconds. This will allow oxygenated blood to return to the patient’s brain and restore consciousness. Staying well hydrated following surgery will help prevent fainting.
As with any surgery, some degree of discomfort is to be expected. You will usually be given a prescription for pain medication. We recommend taking pain medication before the numbing medication has worn off for the best pain management. You will experience the most severe pain within 6 hours of the anesthesia wearing off. After that, your need for pain medication should decrease.
For moderate pain, take a dose (400-600mg) of Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Do not exceed the maximum daily dosage suggested on the bottle.
Do not take Ibuprofen if you:
- Have an intolerance to it
- Take blood thinners
- Have a history of stomach ulcers
- Have a history of kidney disease
For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. To avoid stomach upset, take the pain medication after a meal or with a small snack. If you have allergies to any medications above, do not take them. If your doctor has advised you not to take any medications mentioned above, do not take them.
While taking pain medication, do not:
- Operate a motor vehicle
- Operate machinery (lawn mower, etc)
- Drink alcohol
- If you had IV anesthesia, do not drive for the first 24 hours after surgery.
If you still experience significant pain that is not improving 3-5 days after surgery, notify the clinic. Prescription pain medication has the potential to be addictive, so it’s very important that you only take it if you are experiencing significant post-operative pain. If you do not finish all your prescription medication, take the unused medication to the police station or a pharmacy, and they will dispose of it responsibly. Never leave unused medication in your medicine cabinet at home.
We recommend the following protocol for optimum pain management:
Take each medication with a small snack and a full glass of liquid.
Immediately Following Surgery: 1 Prescription pain pill
3 Hours Later: Ibuprofen dosage
3 Hours Later: 1 Prescription pain pill
3 Hours Later: Ibuprofen dosage
NOTE: The dosage of the prescription pain medication can be increased to 1 1/2 to 2 pills if needed for pain management.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of anesthesia and pain medication. To reduce nausea, eat a small snack before taking the medication and drink a large amount of fluids when you take the medication. If you are nauseous and/or vomiting after surgery, avoid eating, drinking, or taking pain medication for at least one hour. After the hour has passed, sip ginger ale, tea, or coke. Sip slowly over a period of fifteen minutes. Do not use a straw. You may begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medication when you no longer feel nauseous. To help with nausea and vomiting, do not take medication on an empty stomach.
Dissolvable and non-dissolvable sutures are used to close the incisions made during surgery. Do not be concerned if you lose a suture, as the dissolvable sutures will naturally dissolve over time. Please do not trim the sutures as this may lead to the incision opening prematurely and post-operative infection.
Take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. If you experience a rash or an unfavorable reaction to the antibiotic, discontinue use and notify our office. Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection and complete the entire course of treatment. If you experience an upset stomach, we recommend taking acidophilus or a pro-biotic along with your antibiotic.
Antibiotics may make oral contraceptives less effective. You should use an alternate form of birth control while on a course of antibiotics.
Keeping your mouth clean following surgery is essential to good healing and is one of the best ways to avoid infection. You should brush and floss your teeth the night of surgery, avoiding the surgery site. Be gentle initially when cleaning the surgical areas. You will be prescribed a bottle of Chlorhexidine mouth rinse, begin using it the night of surgery after brushing and flossing. This mouth rinse should be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed, until gone. Rinse for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out. Do not drink or eat food for 15 minutes after using the mouth rinse.
The day after surgery, rinse with warm salt water at least 5-6 times a day, especially after eating. To make the salt water rinse, mix one teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water. In addition to a saltwater rinse, mix 50% hydrogen peroxide/50% water. Dip a Q-tip in the solution and gently wipe over the surgery site. This will ensure plaque doesn’t accumulate on the sutures or teeth surrounding the area. Try to avoid over-the-counter mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
DO NOT SMOKE for a minimum of 4 weeks following surgery. The toxic chemicals and heat in cigarette and marijuana smoke increases the likelihood of implant failure and are harmful to the healing of wounds. Ideally, you should quit smoking as this will give the implant the best chance of healing and lasting a long time. Implants fail at a threefold greater rate in patients who smoke.
The upper back teeth and the sinus are very close together. As a result, a communication (an unnatural space) between the sinus and mouth can occur. If you had a sinus bone graft performed, then a sinus communication was surgically created. If we informed you at the conclusion of your procedure that this occurred, please read the following instructions. Your sinuses may feel stuffy or you may experience some nasal drainage, but it is important that you do not blow your nose for at least 14 days after surgery. You may experience slight bleeding from the nose for several days after surgery. To avoid pressure on the sinuses, sneeze with the mouth open for two weeks after surgery. Do not try and hold in the sneeze.
Take all medications and nasal sprays as prescribed. Do not smoke for four weeks. Only eat soft foods for several days and chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Notify our office if drainage or pain increases or if you experience any changes in your condition. Sinus exposures often heal slowly and with difficulty; therefore, you must keep all of your scheduled appointments until you have fully recovered.
Keep physical activity to a minimum for the first few days following surgery. Exercise can cause an increase in blood pressure and result in throbbing and bleeding. After oral surgery, your food intake is often reduced, which can lead to feeling weak and limit your ability to exercise.
Wearing Your Prosthesis
Flippers or partial dentures should not be used immediately after surgery and as little as possible for the first two weeks following surgery. When not required for function or social engagements, try and leave your prosthesis out of your mouth to allow the soft tissue to heal. Full dentures should be worn for the first 24 hours following surgery to act as a pressure bandage to limit swelling. Never chew or bite on food directly with a flipper or partial denture that sits on the implant site.
We want you to have a smooth and pleasant recovery. Following these instructions will ensure the best possible outcome. Please call the office if you have any questions or concerns about your progress. We are available 24 hours a day.
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