Instructions for Postoperative Care

SWELLING: Some swelling is normal, and an ice pack held on the cheek or lip over the surgical site for intermittent periods (10-20 minutes on and 10-20 minutes off) during the first 24-48 hours may help reduce swelling and will relieve some discomfort, you may also sip ice water. 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, please let us know.

BLEEDING: 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, place a moistened tea bag (not herbal tea) over the area and hold it against the bleeding site. It may take several minutes before the bleeding stops. If there is no change in the amount of bleeding call the office immediately.

EATING: It is necessary to maintain a relatively normal diet throughout the course of healing. For the first 24 hours, cold or lukewarm foods are recommended. Hot foods (coffee, soups, etc … ) are to be avoided for the first 24 hours. For the first few days, soft foods can be eaten. Chewing should be done predominately on the side opposite the surgical site. It may be necessary to stick to liquids for the first day, if chewing is uncomfortable. Avoid foods containing seeds or small grains.

CARE OF THE DRESSING: If a dressing has been placed over the surgical site, try to stay away from it the first few days. The dressing is primarily for comfort. If the dressing should become loose or fall off, and there is no increase in the level of discomfort, nothing needs to be done.

ORAL HYGIENE: It is important to maintain a normal level of oral hygiene in the non-operated areas by brushing and flossing. Do not brush or floss the operated site.

RINSING: Avoid vigorous rinsing for the first 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. A chlorhexidine rinse will probably be prescribed. This rinse is normally used for 4-6 weeks after surgery.

MEDICATIONS: Take medications as instructed.

IMPORTANT: Driving or operating dangerous equipment while taking narcotics (pain medication) can be very dangerous. Also, you should not consume alcohol while taking narcotics and antibiotics.

SMOKING AND EXERCISE: Avoid excessive exertion or exercise for the next 24 hours. Also, if you can’t stop completely, you should at least refrain from smoking for the first 24-48 hours to avoid interfering with the healing process.

DO NOT’S: For the next several days, do NOT spit, smoke, rinse hard, drink through a straw, create a “sucking” action with your mouth, use an oral irrigating device.

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