If you recently had a bone graft procedure, there are a number of important instructions to follow so as to facilitate a speedy recovery. Be certain to follow all of these directions as closely as possible!
Immediately After Procedure
As with any procedure that requires anesthesia, it is imperative that you do not drive or operate any machinery while the anesthetic wears off. You should also avoid eating anything or drinking hot liquids for the first 24 hours, as this can cause you to inadvertently burn yourself or bite your cheek, tongue, or lips.
To control bleeding, we will apply gauze to the surgical site after the procedure. Be sure to maintain gentle pressure on the gauze and change it every 30-45 minutes until the bleeding has been controlled. You will likely experience bleeding for the first few hours after your procedure. If your bleeding continues longer, you can try placing a moist tea bag over the site and apply gentle pressure for 30 minutes. Repeat this step again if the bleeding persists. In the meantime, do not rinse your mouth or clean your teeth near the surgical site, as this can wash away the newly formed blood clot and prolong your bleeding. You will also want to avoid hot foods/liquids and physical activity for the next 2-3 days so as to minimize bleeding.
Over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol is often sufficient enough to manage painful symptoms. (Be certain to avoid aspirin, however, as this is a blood thinner.) In some circumstances, you may be prescribed a stronger pain medication. Take any medications as directed. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection, which you should take as instructed until the regimen is completed.
It is not unusual to experience swelling and bruising after the procedure. To help reduce this swelling, wrap an ice pack or frozen vegetable bag in a towel and apply to your face near the surgical site. It is best to alternate your ice pack for 20 minutes on/20 minutes off for the first 1-2 days after surgery. You should also keep your head elevated above your chest to keep the swelling down.
You may temporarily experience dental sensitivity to heat and cold after your surgery. This will improve in the several weeks after your surgery. To help minimize this sensitivity, try to keep your teeth free from plaque as much as possible. In cases of extreme sensitivity, call our offices to discuss further.
For the first 24 hours, you will need to avoid hot foods, as you could inadvertently burn yourself while the anesthetic is still in effect. You will need to maintain a soft food diet for the first two weeks of recovery. While you should avoid sticky or hard foods (chips, popcorn, ice cubes, etc.) as well as spicy or citrusy foods, it is important that you maintain a diet that is high in nutritional value. Foods like soup, pasta, yogurt, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, etc. are best. You should make sure to get plenty of fluids, but do not drink from a straw for the first five days as this can loosen the blood clot. Lastly, do not drink alcohol or smoke until after your post-operative appointment.
It is very important to keep your mouth clean to avoid infection of the surgical site. For areas of the mouth that have not been affected by the surgery (including your tongue), you can maintain a normal dental hygiene routine. However, for the areas affected by the surgery, you should only lightly brush the biting surfaces of your teeth. Do not clean next to the surgical site. After eating, rinse gently with a lukewarm salt water rinse for 30 seconds. Do not rinse too vigorously, though, as this could dislodge the blood clot. Please also rinse with Periogard, Chlorhexidine, Peridex, or OTC mouth rinse each morning and night for 30 seconds each.
Denture or Clear Stent
If you are meant to wear a clear stent or partial denture, it is important not to remove it for the first 24 hours under any circumstances. If blood fills the device, keep it in your mouth and rinse gently with lukewarm salt water or the prescription rinse. After the first 24 hours, you may take it in and out as you please.
It is critical that you do not disturb the surgical site during your healing process. This means that you cannot play with the area with your fingers or tongue, and do not pull at your lips or cheek to look at the area. You must also avoid using a straw or drinking/eating particularly hot beverages/foods as this can disturb the blood clot.
It is important to rest after your procedure to facilitate the healing process. Therefore, you should not be doing physical activity for at least 5 days following your procedure, and you should not lift more than 15 pounds.
If you have any questions about your recovery, contact Steger Smiles today!