Directions for Patients
Are you undergoing an oral surgery procedure? When you go through oral surgery, post-procedure success and healthy recovery have a lot to do with how well you follow your dentist’s care instructions —but it is easy to forget the instructions your dentist tells you right after a procedure. Here are the recommendations that we usually make to our patients after they have received treatment. If you are recovering from surgery, we hope these post-dental surgery instructions will make you feel more comfortable.
AFTER SURGERY WITHOUT IV SEDATION
Follow these instructions for an optimal recovery:
- Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages for the 48 hours after your appointment. This is important for quick healing.
- After surgery, please do not rinse or spit for 24 hours, as the blood clot necessary for healing may dislodge. After 24 hours have passed, you should gently rinse three to four times daily with warm salt water.
- Tooth extraction may cause numbness of the facial nerves. Please let us know if this happens.
- If bleeding persists, fold the provided gauze in half, and then in half again. Place the gauze over the site of bleeding and bite firmly. A wet tea bag will also work.
- When sleeping, you may wish to place a towel over your pillow, in case of bleeding.
- If swelling occurs, gently place an icepack onto the face 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off. Swelling is a natural response to any surgery 24-48 hours after treatment. If swelling persists after this time, please give our office a call.
- Eat a soft and nutritious diet for a few days and avoid drinking ice cold or hot liquids. Do not drink with a straw.
- Follow any additional instructions that were given personally and be sure to take any prescribed medications until completed.
- If applicable, our office will call to book an appointment for suture removal or to check on the site to ensure proper healing.
SURGERY WITH IV SEDATION
After an oral surgery procedure involving IV sedation, it’s important to follow specific instructions to ensure you recover fully. Here are post-IV sedation instructions to help:
- To ensure more rapid healing and avoid any disorientation, avoid alcohol consumption, smoking and any substance use for 48 hours following your surgery.
- Because your sedative will put you in a legally impaired state for 24 hours after the appointment, do not drive, operate machinery or use a vehicle requiring hand-eye coordination for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
- Because you will be legally impaired for 24 hours after the appointment and the sedative, avoid making any important decisions or taking on any important responsibilities while you recover.
- The sedative will make you drowsy for several hours after the oral surgery, so we recommend taking a nap following the procedure. Place a towel on your pillow for cleanliness in case slight bleeding occurs.
- Refrain from rinsing or spitting for at least 24 hours following your surgery, as it could dislodge the blood clot your mouth needs to heal. After 24 hours pass, rinse with warm salt water three to four times each day.
- Tell your dentist if you experience any numbness in your face, as tooth extraction can sometimes cause facial nerve numbness.
- If the surgery site continues to bleed, fold your gauze in half and fold again, then place it over the bleeding and bite down firmly. If you need more material, a wet tea bag can also provide bleeding relief.
- In the 24-48 hours following your dental surgery, you may experience swelling in your face — which is your body’s natural response to your procedure. If you find that swelling does occur, use an ice pack on your face, alternating between 20 minutes on and 20 off. If swelling continues to persist after two days, please call our office.
- For a few days following your procedure, eat soft, nutritious foods like soup, applesauce, mashed potatoes, mashed vegetables, omelets and pasta, if possible. Do not drink liquids that are too hot or ice cold, and avoid using a straw at all times.
- Be sure to take your prescribed medication until it is complete and follow any further personal instructions from your dentist.
- If necessary, we will call you to set up your suture removal appointment. Otherwise, check our website for proper healing procedures.
POST-OP TISSUE GRAFT INSTRUCTIONS
After your surgery, you will find that a hard pink protective material has been placed over the graft site. This material should stay in place until we remove it at your post-operative appointment approximately seven days later. If it comes off prior to your post-op appointment, please phone us immediately and let us know.
A clear surgical stint that fits over your upper teeth and the roof of your mouth has been put into place to protect the palate and provide comfort (specifically to the area from which the donor grafting tissue has been taken). Usually, we place some of the pink material in this stint as well. At times, the pink material may come loose from the stint. This is okay, and may be discarded should this ever occur.
You may wear the stint for as long as you require, including while eating, to provide comfort, but it MUST be cleaned frequently to help avoid infection. Clean your stint by brushing it with a toothbrush under cold running water.
The areas involved will be quite sore throughout the healing process. This is normal.
If you are able (i.e. not allergic and do not experience stomach upset), you may take three 200-milligram ibuprofen tablets every four hours (or less as needed—but no more than every four hours) for pain relief. Ibuprofen is recommended because of its pain-relieving as well as its anti-inflammatory effects
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CROWN/BRIDGE TEMPORARIES
Do not eat anything sticky or chewy. For example, toffee or chewing gum is a very bad idea.
You may be a little sore along the gum line, so when brushing your teeth, use an extra soft toothbrush, using warm water to make the bristles of your brush softer. Brush gently in that area.
Rinse two to three times daily with Rx Peridex , Sterisol, or a solution of salt water (one teaspoon in an 8-ounce glass of warm water).
You should floss, but it is important that you do so in this manner: insert the floss between the teeth, as normal, but do NOT “pop” the floss back out, or you will risk removal of your temporary. Instead, pull the length of the floss slowly out the side of the tooth.
If your temporary crown or bridge comes off, call the office immediately to arrange an appointment to have the unit cemented back into place. In the meantime, place the temporary back into position on the tooth (it will only fit on one way).
If your temporary crown or bridge comes off outside of our office hours, call and leave a message on our answering machine with your name and telephone number. Make sure to mention in the message that your temporary has become dislodged. In the meantime, place the temporary back into position. It should feel snug, and you may sleep with the unit in place, unless it feels loose. If the unit feels loose, or if you are worried about sleeping with the unit in place, place the unit into a bag, but make sure you put it back into place upon awakening.
If your temporary veneer or CMBR (onlay) comes off, place the temporary into a bag and call the office immediately to arrange an appointment to have the unit cemented back into place. This type of unit will not stay in place if you attempt to put it back yourself.
IMMEDIATE DENTURES AFTER TOOTH REMOVAL
After you undergo tooth removal and denture replacement, you may find that your dentures feel large at first. This is a normal feeling, and you will adjust in a few days to a few weeks. While you recover from your oral surgery, follow these instructions:
- To control and prevent residual bleeding after your procedure, do not remove your dentures for 24 hours.
- When 24 hours have passed, you are allowed to take your dentures out in short increments of a few minutes. To avoid swelling of the tissue and the need to reseal, don’t leave your dentures out for more than a few minutes at a time.
- Sore spots will occur naturally when we put in new dentures, and we will see you within 48 hours after your procedure to help relieve related pain. After that, we will see you in one week and as needed for your comfort level.
- Over time, the dentures may loosen as your bone and tissue heal, changing the shape of your gums. To help your dentures continue to fit after this happens, we will add soft reline material in your dentures at least twice — for no additional cost. Each reline should last somewhere from one to three months.
- After nine months to a year, your tissue and bone will stabilize. At this point, we will reevaluate your dentures for function and retention. If necessary, we may put in a permanent reline or implant a new denture for a separate cost.
POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SINUS GRAFT
To protect your sinuses after your procedure, follow these precautions:
- Avoid blowing or straining your nose.
- Avoid smoking or using any kind of tobacco.
- Avoid drinking liquids with a straw.
- Avoid lifting or pulling on your lip to check on your sutures — this could cause strain.
- Keep your mouth open when you sneeze to stop pressure buildup in the sinuses.
- For 14 days after your visit, take your prescribed medication or use decongestants.
- Don’t worry if you find small granules in your mouth for a few days after your procedure. This is normal.
Make sure to call our office if:
- You feel small granules in your nose instead of or as well as your mouth.
- You feel intense discomfort despite your medication.
BLEACHING AND WHITENING
When you are undergoing a bleaching or whitening session, follow these care directions:
- Thoroughly floss and brush your teeth.
- Put a pea-sized portion of bleaching gel on the front side of your bleaching tray.
- Carefully put the tray in your mouth, press softly into place and wipe excess gel away with a tissue.
- Do not eat or drink while your tray is in.
- Continue to wear your tray for two hours. Afterwards, remove the bleaching tray, rinse your mouth and brush your teeth with cold water. After waiting two to three hours, you may bleach again, if necessary.
- Do not consume foods that may stain your teeth — like red wine, tea or coffee. Avoid acidic, citrusy foods and beverages while you are bleaching. Do not smoke cigarettes, pipes or anything else for a minimum of two weeks after you bleach.
- Store your gel in the fridge.
- Store your bleaching trays in a dry, cool place away from the sun.
- Allow at least 24 hours for your teeth’s colour to show the true results, as they may initially appear especially chalky or white.
Good Luck With Your Oral Surgery!
When you follow our careful dental surgery instructions, you should see a quicker and more comfortable recovery. Thank you for choosing Alpen Dental.