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Antibiotic – If an antibiotic has been prescribed, start taking it the first day (unless directed otherwise) and use it to completion. You can reduce stomach upset by taking with food and/or plenty of liquid.
Ibuprofen – Unless you have a reason you can’t take ibuprofen (such as an allergy to ibuprofen or aspirin, or a stomach ulcer), take 600mg of ibuprofen at a time, 4 times per day. Start the day of the gum graft surgery and take it for the next 2 days.
After that you can still take it as needed for pain. Do not use ibuprofen for more than one week. If you have an 81mg aspirin daily, taking an NSAID (such as ibuprofen) and aspirin around the same time can reduce the blood thinning effects of aspirin.
To avoid this, take the aspirin 8 hours after the last ibuprofen, then wait at least ½ hour before taking any more ibuprofen. Take other pain pills and antibiotics as directed.
Ice Bag, Inclined Sleeping and Swelling – Use a cold pack (a plastic bag of peas works well) to the face over the area where the procedure was done for 10 minutes at a time, twice an hour, for the first 6 hours. An ice bag can be used periodically for the rest of the day post-surgery and the next day. Do not use hot packs or a hot water bottle.
For the first 2 nights after the procedure, sleep in a recliner chair or with your head propped up with some pillows. Keeping your head above your heart level for the first 2 days will significantly cut down on post-op oral swelling which will cut down on pain.
Most people experience some swelling within the first 48-72 hours after surgery. Using the ice bag and sleeping inclined as directed will help a great deal to keep swelling to a minimum.
Stitches and “Barrier Membrane” – The stitches and barrier membrane over the extraction site are usually dissolvable and need to be in place for at least 7 days and may last up to 3 weeks.
Oral Hygiene – Do not use a water-pik or an electric toothbrush around the surgical area for 6 weeks after the procedure. After that, it should be OK. Around the surgery area, for the first 2 weeks use a soft-bristled toothbrush with light pressure.
You can brush the areas not worked on with your usual toothbrush. Do not floss around the tooth/teeth worked on for 1 week, so you don’t accidentally take out any of the stitches. After 4 weeks, there should be no oral hygiene restrictions, except for water-piks and electric toothbrushes as noted above.
Salt-Water Rinses – Rinse your mouth out (don’t swish) with warm salt water (1/2 tsp salt in 8 ounces of warm water). Hold this in the mouth for 30 seconds and spit out. Repeat. Do this 4-5 times per day for 7 days. Begin this the day after the procedure.
Exercise – Avoid strenuous exercise for the first 7 days. Strenuous physical activity may increase post-operative pain or cause post-operative bleeding and swelling. Less activity equals less pain.
Touching the Surgical Site – It is important that the surgical site remains untouched during the initial stages of healing. We recommend that you avoid stretching your mouth to look at the site and avoid playing with your tongue on the surgical sites. Also avoid any pressure on the surgical site.
Bleeding – “Pink” saliva is normal for a few days. If you have bleeding, gently wipe the area clean of any “blood clots” first. If it just won’t stop, call the office.
Food – Stay on a soft diet, chew away from the extracted tooth/teeth and avoid any foods that would be more likely to get stuck in the extraction site, such as corn, popcorn, nuts, and seeds. Do this for at least 5 weeks (if we used a non-resorbable barrier we removed, then for 1 week after the barrier is removed).
Citric juices, carbonated beverages or acidic foods, like tomatoes, may hurt, but won’t damage the graft healing. For the first 7 days, avoid really hot foods or drinks. Consider a nutritional food supplement (Carnation Instant Breakfast drink, Ensure, Slim-fast, etc.) Ensure makes a product called Glucerna for diabetics. After 5 weeks, there should be no eating restrictions. Don’t use straws for the 1st week. No milkshakes with a straw for 4 weeks.
Smoking – DON’T SMOKE!! Smokers have a much higher incidence of dry sockets and delayed healing.
Aspirin – Unless you have a special medical reason for taking aspirin (tell us at least a week ahead of time if this is the case), do not take aspirin products for 7 days prior to the procedure and for 7 days after the procedure. Aspirin can cause bleeding.
If you have any other questions or concerns do not hesitate to call our office.
Our West Michigan family dentists provide quality dental care to patients of all ages. Call one of our five convenient West MI locations below today to schedule your appointment.
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