Post Operative Care

After certain procedures in our office, we may recommend aftercare to help your recovery be as comfortable as possible.  Our aftercare ranges from periodontal procedures to oral surgery.  No matter the procedure, we are here to support you!  

After Scaling & Root Planing  -

  • Avoid eating for two hours, or until the anesthetic has worn off. 
  • You may take an over-the-counter pain reliever for any discomfort. 
  • Avoid hard foods like chips, popcorn, or seeds for the next several days.
  • Refrain from smoking for 24-48 hrs (tobacco delays healing).
    • Smoking cessation is highly recommended.
  • Rinse your mouth 2-3x/day with warm salt water.
  • Use prescribed fluoride rinse as directed.
  • Gently resume home care (brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing) the same day.
  • If recommended, use a WaterPik.
  • Avoid “whitening” or baking soda toothpaste (it may inflame the gums).
  • Teeth may be sensitive to hot, cold, or sweets.  If sensitivity continues or is severe, professional application of a desensitizing agent may be required.

After Extractions  -

  • Biting stops bleeding and develops a blood clot.  If active bleeding persists after 20-30 minutes, place enough new gauze for another 30-60 mins, or bite on a warm tea bag (squeezed to damp-dry) for 20-30 mins.
  • No spitting, vigorous rinsing, or straws.
  • Swelling can be minimized by applying a towel-wrapped ice pack to your face/cheek for 20 mins on / 20 mins off for the first 24 hrs.  Following those first 24 hrs, switch to warm compresses.
  • Eat soft foods like ice cream, cheese, yogurt, avocado, soup, mashed potatoes, etc. for a few days, avoiding foods that are crunchy, sharp, sticky, or that require lots of chewing.
  • Eat food 15 mins prior to taking any medication.
  • Pain medication works best while still numb.  Pick up your pain medication from your pharmacy as soon as possible. 

First 24 Hours

  • You may find blood on your pillow from the temporary bleeding that leads to blood clot formation, which is a part of the healing process.  The clot appears white, surrounded by inflamed, red tissue.  Your gums should return to the original tissue color soon. 
  • You may have sore/stiff jaws or bruised skin.  Apply a warm compress: 20 mins on / 20 mins off.
  • Gently rinse with a salt water solution(1/4 tsp salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water).  Rinse 4x/day for 6-8 days to keep the surgical site clean.  Begin your normal oral hygiene.
  • Drink plenty of fluids after surgery.

1st-4th day Medication Routine

  • Start with Narcotics (Norco, Percocet, etc.) 
  • 3-4 hrs later, take the anti-inflammatory (Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.)
  • Alternate medication every 3-4 hrs.
  • Day 6-8, alternate anti-inflammatory and acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6-8 hrs.

End of First Week

  • Normal discomfort and bruising may persist for 2-3 more weeks.
  • The swelling will be down 7-10 days after surgery.
  • If you are still sore, stretch your jaw open and apply local heat.
  • Return to your normal oral hygiene and diet. 
  • Sutures may unravel after 2-3 days.  If loose ends are bothersome, don’t tug!  Feel free to trim with scissors or call our office. Sutures resorb within 7-10 days.
  • Stagger medications to maintain potency in your bloodstream.  Refer to the guidelines on the back of the printed post-op instructions from your appointment.