POST-SURGICAL CARE FOLLOWING PERIODONTAL AND IMPLANT PROCEDURES
REST: Limiting your physical activity is recommended for a day or two after surgery. When you lie down, keep your head slightly elevated in the first 24 hours (an extra pillow or a thick book under the head of your mattress). Ideally, you should refrain from vigorous work-out programs for 2-3 days following surgery.
PAIN RELIEF: You will have been advised to use one of many different pain killers available either over the counter (OTC) or by prescription. 400mg Advil or other forms of ibuprofen effectively control pain. If you have an intolerance of ASA or aspirin-like drugs you should not use Advil. Acceptable alternatives include 325mg or 500mg Tylenol (OTC) or Tylenol/codeine (by prescription). If Advil or Tylenol do not adequately manage your pain, a combination of Advil taken together with Tylenol can improve your pain management. Do not exceed 600mg of Advil (Ibuprofen) every 6 hours. Pain levels vary a lot; do not worry if your pain peaks after 3 or 4 days. This is common.
ANTIBIOTICS: Are prescribed for some surgeries. It is important to take the full prescription as directed. If you develop itching, a skin rash or swelling, immediately discontinue the drug and contact our office @ 250-635-5256 or 250-638-0841. If you experience difficulty breathing, proceed to the hospital emergency department.
ORAL HYGIENE: You must avoid brushing/flossing the surgical site for at least 1 week unless otherwise instructed, since this can break stitches prematurely or cause movement of the gum. You will rely on an antibacterial oral rinse given to you at the time of surgery to keep the area clean. You should rinse/swish for 30 seconds/spit out, 2 times per day (follow instructions or bottle) or swab the site with a Q-tip dipped in the rinse. Do not swallow the rinse. For some surgeries, you will be asked to refrain from brushing and flossing for longer periods.
STITCHES: Dissolving stitches are often used. Dissolving rates very significantly from person to person and depend on the type of stitch used; in some cases they can start to fall out within a few days. This is normal. If non-dissolving stitches have been placed, you would have been advised of this and an appointment to remove them established. If a stitch comes loose and is bothersome, simply clip it off with small scissors. Medical glues may also be used which will gradually chip off as healing progresses.
PERIODONTAL PACK: This is a protective dressing that is sometimes used, most commonly in association with gum grafting surgery. Its role is to protect a surgical site from trauma and reduce discomfort. If it falls off or you swallow it, do not worry; it does not influence healing and it is not harmful if ingested.
SWELLING: is very common and normal. You can minimize the swelling by placing an ice pack on your face over the surgical site during the 1st day after surgery (on for 20 minutes, off for 20 minutes; repeat this throughout the day). Swelling is often worst in the mornings because you have been lying down. It will reduce gradually after you get up. Ice packs can help again.
BLEEDING: Slight seepage/blood staining in your saliva is expected following the surgery, and no action is necessary. Profuse bleeding is extremely rare. If it should occur, apply pressure with a moistened tea bag for 20 minutes. If you are still unable to control the bleeding after 40 minutes, call our office. If you are unable to reach the periodontist, you should go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Sinus grafting surgery patients may experience a post-surgical nose bleed within the 2 days following surgery. Pinching the nostrils, tilting the head back will bring this under control.
RINSING: Do not rinse your mouth vigorously for the first day after the surgery, since this can cause bleeding. Do not suck from straws during the first 48 hours, as this can also cause bleeding.
SMOKING: Affects healing and generally has a negative impact on the surgical result. Avoid smoking as much as possible.
ALCOHOL: Can adversely interact with pain killers (codeine based drugs) and some antibiotics. Alcohol will also affect your body’s normal clotting mechanism, and can contribute to bleeding problems within the first few days after surgery.
NUTRITION: Maintain as close to normal a diet as possible, especially if you are a diabetic. Avoid eating hard/crunchy foods; with small seeds or popcorn which could get stuck in the surgical site. Liquid food supplements are recommended if you are having difficulty eating.
PROBLEMS: Occasionally minor complications may occur after surgery. Please do not hesitate to call our office if you are concerned about your situation. Outside of office hours, the answering machine will list emergency contact phone numbers.