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Post Operative Instructions after Bone Grafting:
1.  No smoking!  Smoking can increase your chances of a complications.
2.  Refrain from using a straw.  If you need to drink, you can sip from a cup.  You can use a spoon for soups.
3.  You may experience significant swelling.  You may even experience facial bruising.  This is normal!  In fact, swelling is expected to increase for 3 days after your procedure, peak at the 3rd to 4th day, and then start to decrease.  You may use ice packs for the first 24 hours to help with swelling.  You can apply these 20 mins on, 20 mins off over the area that was worked on.  Don't place ice directly on your face, as you may be numb in the area and may not feel how cold it actually gets!  If you have swelling that is increasing beyond the first week, or swelling that is returning to the site, please contact our office to make a post-operative appointment.
4.  You will leave with gauze in your mouth.  Bite down with pressure on the gauze, as this is in place to help control your bleeding.  Bite with pressure for 30 minutes.  After this, you can replace out the gauze pack (roll it up and place it directly over the extraction site), and place pressure by firmly biting.  
5.  You may rinse your mouth with salt water, or the medicated rinse prescribed by your doctor.  Do not spit it out.  Instead, gently swish and let it run out of your mouth over the sink.
6.  Avoid any strenuous activity.  Usually, you will be able to return to school or work in 3-5 days.  No sports, running, or heavy activity for 2-3 weeks.
8.  You can clean the area by gently brushing.  DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH.  Instead, you can purchase a manual baby tooth brush that has a small head and soft bristles to allow you to clean better.  You need not be aggressive, but gently swipe the area clean.  Aggressive brushing can result in graft loss.  Continue to use the mouth rinse written by your doctor, or use salt water as directed above.  
9.  If stitches were used, in most circumstances, they will dissolve on their own.
10.  Pain is experienced differently by everyone.  We do expect some level of discomfort immediately after the procedure.  The pain should start decreasing by the 3rd post-operative day.  Your doctor may write you pain medication.  If a stronger pain medication is used, it may cause nausea/vomiting.  Additionally, it may cause you to become drowsy.  If you have to take a stronger pain medication, refrain from driving, or using heavy machinery.
11. Take medications as prescribed and directed by your doctor.  Remember, medications may have side effects.  These can include upset stomach with antibiotics, or drowsiness with stronger pain medication (in which case you should avoid driving, or the use of machinary).
12.  Immediately after the procedure, start with a liquid diet (water, or Gatorade is recommended).  Later that evening, advance to a pureed diet, and a soft diet as tolerated (the consistency of scrambled eggs, soups, mashed potatoes, Mac n Cheese, yogurt, or ice cream).  As tolerated, over the next few days, you can advance to a normal diet.  If it hurts to eat, go back to a softer diet.  Remember, no straws.  You can eat on the opposite side to the surgical site.
  • Persistent or heavy bleeding not controlled by pressure
  • Swelling increasing after the first week
  • Pain increasing beyond the first week
  • Foul taste, foul smell, any sort of drainage from the area
  • Excruciating pain indicative of a dry socket
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