INSTRUCTIONS FOR AFTER YOUR SURGERY
1. Things to avoid after surgery, until we remove sutures:
a. Looking at the surgical site. The site is held together with very delicate sutures.
i. Pulling your lip or cheek (even gently) to peek at the surgical site will loosen these sutures and could severely jeopardize the surgical result. It is also normal for the site to look “ugly” before it looks better. Looking at it will confuse you.
b. Brushing or flossing the surgical area. Cleaning the site can loosen stitches and harm the area. We will clean it for you at follow-up visits.
c. Hard, crunchy, or chewy foods (nuts, chips, pretzels, bagels)
d. Swishing or rinsing your mouth with anything (not even salt water rinses)
e. Drinking with a straw
f. Smoking or consuming alcohol
g. Any activity that increases your heart rate should be avoided for at least 5 days. If you had a
graft from the roof of your mouth, exercise should be avoided for 10 days.
2. Swelling and bruising are normal post-operative events. Have plenty of ice on hand. You will be placing ice on the outside of your cheek where we did surgery for 48 hours. This will help reduce the swelling. After 48 hours, you can switch to warm compresses to reduce swelling.
3. Your diet will consist of soft foods until we remove the sutures. Eating on the opposite side of the surgical area is always a good idea. Softer foods (chicken, fish, pasta, rice, stuffing, potatoes, over cooked vegetables, applesauce, yogurt, soups, and puddings) are recommended. Avoid nuts, seeds, popcorn, granola and other crunchy food.
4. If bone graft material was placed, you may notice some particles come loose. This is generally not something to be concerned about and will not affect the success of the graft.
Although not totally avoidable, we want you to heal with minimal discomfort, swelling and bruising. To best allow for this, we have a specific post-operative regime to maximize your recuperation. Unless contraindicated because of your medical history, you will be given the following:
- Antibiotic: Please be sure that we know of any allergies. Take this as prescribed.
- Ibuprofen: An anti-inflammatory. Take this every 8 hours for 3 days, then as you need it. Taking it regularly for 3 days will reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Narcotic: Pain reliever. This is to be taken if you need more relief beyond the ibuprofen alone. It can be combined with ibuprofen.
a. If you prefer not to take a narcotic because of side effects, you can take Extra Strength Tylenol instead. Take it halfway between ibuprofen doses (at the 4 hour mark for best effect).
Note: Take the Ibuprofen (400mg) as directed every 4 hours. If working or driving or don’t like the feeling the narcotic pain medication gives you and you need a little more pain control, you can supplement Tylenol (500mg) for the narcotic pain medication (Norco). If you have severe pain and don’t wish to take a narcotic, you may take 2 tablets of 500mg acetaminophen (Tylenol) in conjunction with or alternated with the ibuprofen. Please note there is Tylenol in the pain medication, you cannot take Tylenol with the pain medication.
Some bleeding is expected after surgery. It will be mixed with saliva and appear to be pink for a few days.
If heavy bleeding persists: Moisten a black tea bag and place it on the surgical site for 20 minutes to control the bleeding. You can also place ice cold water in your mouth until warm (15-20 seconds). Then, lean over a sink to let it fall out of your mouth. Repeat several times to stop the bleeding. Remember.... NO SWISHING!
Strenuous activity during the first 5 days after surgery could elevate your heart rate and promote bleeding.
Please call the office at any time if the bleeding persists and is red in color (as opposed to pink) and heavy.
Elevating your head while sleeping for the first 2 evenings after surgery with an extra pillow can help minimize bleeding. A towel over your pillow can prevent staining.
SWELLING and BRUISING
The majority of swelling will happen on the 2nd and 3rd day after surgery. Ice packs must be placed on your face for 48 hours (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, etc). Of course, this should not disrupt your sleep schedule.
Bruising is to be expected. It may occur under your eye, under your jaw, or on your neck. Don’t be alarmed if it does not appear until several days after the surgery. If you do develop a bruise it will last a week or two like any other bruise.
Even if you are not in any pain, anti-inflammatory medication should still be taken to control swelling for the first 3 days, as prescribed.
AND ONLY IF YOU HAD A SINUS GRAFT
Do not blow your nose for 2 weeks after surgery. If you nose if very clogged up, you can take Sudafed, Afrin Nasal Spray, or Allergy medication to ease this.
For the first 2 weeks, avoid sneezing by pressing firmly on the tip of your nose when you feel the need. If you cannot control it, please sneeze with your mouth open.
It is normal to have a small amount of blood in your nose for 2 days after surgery. Please call us if this persists.