Work and Exercise
If sedated, return home immediately and relax. If you have been given any sedative medication, this medication takes some time to completely wear off, possibly as much as 24 hours. It is normal to sleep a good deal during this time. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for 12 hours as your reaction time is slowed. Work can be resumed the next day unless otherwise instructed. Do not undertake any strenuous excersize for several days.
Soft and Cool for the first 24 hours after surgery. We encourage you to restrict your diet to soft, nourishing foods while healing takes place. Plain foods lacking high seasoning are less irritating and are encouraged during the healing period. For 24 hours, hot foods and drinks should be avoided since heat can cause swelling around the surgical site. An ice bag (or crushed ice in a zip-lock bag, covered with a thin towel) held over the surgical site for 10 minutes on and 5 minutes off will help reduce swelling (during the initial 4-5 hours). For the remaining time, apply the ice pack 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off as long as you can. For persistent swelling after the first 24 hours, heat is encouraged (warm water rinses, hot water bottle, heating pad, etc.) since this will increase circulation to the surgical site and healing will be promoted.
Pain medication may or may not be prescribed depending on the severity of your surgical procedure. If it is not prescribed, aspirin, or acetaminophen tablets (2 tablets every 4 hours) will generally help keep you comfortable. Do not take pain medication if it is not needed. If an antibiotic is prescribed to eliminate any chance of infection, it is IMPERATIVE that you follow the directions on the label when taking antibiotic medication. You must be certain that you take this medication as prescribed until finished. Prescription pain medications are quite strong and consequently, to avoid mild symptoms of nausea, the medication should be taken with food. You should also avoid operating any mechanical devices or vehicles while taking the prescription medication.
As previously mentioned, plaque control procedures must not be neglected, even during this post operative phase of your treatment. Beginning the day after surgery, if teeth are present, all teeth (not on the surgical site) should be brushed and flossed as you normally do. Please be aware that toothpaste may irritate the healing tissues. It may be advisable that toothpaste not be used while brushing for several days. You will be given an antibacterial mouth rinse which you will use twice daily – once in the morning (after you eat and brush your teeth) and once at night at bedtime. After brushing your teeth rinse and expectorate the mouth rinse prior to going to bed.
Problems which arise during your post-operative period, such as continued bleeding; persistent pain, abnormal swelling, etc. should be discussed with us. We also suggest that you elevate your head by using two pillows during the first36 to 48 hours after surgery. This will help reduce the swelling. Do not suck or use straws while drinking or eating. Such activity can cause bleeding. Please note that smoking retards the healing process. In the case of implants, please note that smoking is known to contribute to a 40% loss of dental implants. If you smoke during the healing process, the warranty is null and void on these implants. While this type of dental therapy is not enjoyable for anyone, following the instructions listed above is the very best way we know to make the healing phase as pleasant as possible. Remember our goal as well as yours, is to retain your natural teeth or the implant we have place in health and comfort. The surgical procedure is one important way, which will help us both to achieve this goal. N.B. Vitamins may also help healing.
If you have any questions, please call the office.