Periodontal Surgery or Implant Surgery Post Operative Instructions

To ensure your comfort and the success of treatment, we strongly suggest that the following instructions be carried out:

  1. WORK AND EXERCISE: RETURN HOME IMMEDIATELY AND RELAX. The sedative medicine takes some time to completely wear off, possibly as much as 24 hours. It is normal to sleep a good deal during this period. Do not try to drive or operate any machinery for 12 hours, as your reaction time is slowed. Work can be resumed tomorrow, but you may choose to wait several days. DO NOT UNDERTAKE ANY STRENUOUS EXERCISE FOR SEVERAL DAYS. Exaggerated movement, of the jaws (talking, laughing, yawning, vigorous chewing, etc.) must be avoided during the first 24 hours after surgery, so that a strong blood clot is permitted to form, insuring better healing, and so that the grafting materials are not displaced before they have started to heal. Occasional bloodstains, in the saliva, may be expected. If some bleeding continues, rinse with ice water and then take a piece of gauze, or a cold, wet, tea bag, and cover the area under pressure for 30 minutes. Approximately 10 days, after your surgical appointment, the sutures will be removed. Another suture may be applied for a second period of time.
  2. SUTURE/GRAFTING MATERIAL. A soft tissue graft material may have been used with multiple sutures to cover the surgical site. It is imperative that all of the sutures remain intact for the initial 48-72 hours following the surgery, to ensure optimal healing. If any sutures come loose, or if you feel any tissue flapping open, then call Dr. Dickson ASAP. It is normal to have a couple of small crunchy granules floating around in your mouth.
  3. DIET: SOFT AND COOL diet for the first 24 hours after surgery. We encourage you to restrict your diet to soft nourishing foods, while the grafting materials are in place. This will help to prevent breaking the surgical site. For the same reason, it is advisable to chew only on the side opposite the surgical site. Bland foods, lacking high seasonings are less irritating and are encouraged during the healing phase as well. Some suggested foods: dairy products, eggs, instant breakfasts, ice cream, Jell-O, yogurt, pudding, milkshakes, blended or pureed foods, and/or dietary supplements (Ensure, Nutriment, etc.).

    For 24 hours after surgery hot foods and drinks should be avoided, since heat can cause swelling around the surgical site, and can also cause softening and displacement of the surgical materials. AN ICE BAG (or crushed ice, in a zip-lock bag, covered with a thin towel) HELD ON THE LIP OR CHEEK OVER THE SURGICAL SITE FOR 10 MINUTES ON AND 5 MINUTES OFF WILL HELP REDUCE SWELLING (during the initial 24 hours).

    For persistent swelling, after the first 24 hours, heat is encouraged (warm water rinses, hot water bottle, heating pad, etc.) since this will increase circulation to the surgical site and healing will be promoted
  5. HOME CARE: As already mentioned, plaque control procedures must not be neglected, even during this post-operative phase of your treatment. Beginning the day after surgery, all the teeth around the surgical site must be brushed and flossed as you normally do, with extreme care. We encourage you not to use toothpaste, since many are irritating to healing tissues. The surgical site should also be cleaned daily, but not with a toothbrush, since the dressing can accidentally be bumped loose. The dressing should be cleansed with gauze squares or Q-tips. NO TOOTHPASTE, BAKING SODA, OR MOUTHWASHES for the first 48-72 hours.
  6. MEDICATION: Pain medication may or may not be prescribed, depending on the severity of your surgical procedure. If it is not prescribed, ibuprophen or acetaminophen tablets (taken every 4 hours) will generally keep you comfortable. Do not take pain medication, if it is not needed.

    In most cases, an antibiotic will also be prescribed to decrease the chance's of infection. It is imperative that you follow the directions on the label, when taking antibiotic medication. Particularly be certain that you take thismedication, as prescribed, until finished.

    Prescription pain medications are quite strong and consequently, to avoid mild symptoms of nausea, themedication should be taken with food. You should also avoid operating any mechanical devices, or vehicles while taking the prescribed medication.
  7. GENERAL INFORMATION: Problems that arise during your post-operative period, such as continued bleeding, persistent pain; abnormal swelling, etc. should be discussed with us, ASAP, so do not hesitate to page Dr. Dickson. We also suggest that you elevate your head, by using two pillows during sleep for the first 36 to 48 hours, after surgery. This will help reduce swelling. DO NOT USE STRAWS OR SUCK HARD ON SMOKING MATERIAL DURING THE FIRST TWO POST-OPERATIVE DAYS. Such activity can cause bleeding. Due to its retarding effect upon healing, it is advisable that you NOT SMOKE AT ALL.

While this type of dental therapy is not enjoyable for anyone, following the instructions listed above is the best way we know to make the healing phase as pleasant as possible. Remember, our goad, as well as yours, is to retain your natural teeth in health and comfort. This surgical procedure is one important way that will help us both to achieve this goal.


Suggested food items for day of surgery

  • Beverages: NO HOT FOODS OR HOT BEVERAGES, water, iced tea, milk
  • Miscellaneous: Slim Fast, milk shake without a straw, jell-o, pudding, cold pasta, yogurt

Suggested food items for day after surgery

  • Canned foods: chopped mixed greens, various beans, various peas, green beans, soup, creamed corn
  • Bread: rolls, soft bread, honey/wheat with crust broken off
  • Meats: sliced smoked turkey breast, sliced baked ham, baked fish fillets, hamburger, meatloaf
  • Breakfast foods: Eggs, oatmeal, cereal
  • Beverages: no carbonated drinks, no straws, water, iced tea (no lemon), hot tea, skim milk, hot cocoa mix, Ovaltine, coffee
  • Miscellaneous: vanilla ice cream (add chocolate topping) or other flavors, Ensure/Slim Fast, Jell-O Pudding Snacks, yogurt
  • For two weeks after surgery, do not eat spicy foods, chips, or popcorn, and do not drink juice or carbonated drinks.

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