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Surgery or Implant After Care Instructions


How do I care for my mouth after surgery or implant placement? 

Care of the mouth: If a surgical dressing was placed, this usually takes at least 2 hours to become hard.  Avoid eating or excessive movement of the tongue, lips or cheeks that may dislodge the dressing during this time.  After the dressing becomes hard, it will generally stay firmly in place. If it becomes loose or comes off, do not be concerned unless the area bothers you.  Do not brush areas where we did surgery.  All other areas should be brushed and flossed as usual.  Gently rinse mouth with warm salt water, hydrogen peroxide diluted with water, or with chlorhexindine if prescribed.  Do not use any alcohol-containing mouth rinses, especially if bone grafting was done.

Discomfort: Discomfort will vary in intensity according to the extent of the surgery.  The best method to maintain comfort is to take the 800mg of ibuprofen prescribed every 6-8 hours (or other prescribed pain medication if different); do not wait until it hurts.  If the pain is not better, call the office.  Discomfort may be more severe on the second, third or fourth day and is made worse by smoking and poor diet.  Take the pain medication for the first few days even if you do not experience any discomfort. 

Swelling:  Apply ice to the face over the operated areas for 4 to 6 hours following surgery; on and off for 20 minute periods.  Avoid strenuous physical activity for 5 days.  This will minimize the post-operative swelling.  The swelling may be more pronounced on the second, third or fourth post-operative days.  After the first day, use warm compresses to help soothe and reduce swelling.

Bleeding: A slight amount of bleeding for several hours following the surgery is common.  If you take a nap, cover your pillow with a towel.  In case of excessive or continuous bleeding, take a piece of sterile gauze or a tea bag and press firmly over the bleeding area (or over the dressing if placed) for at least 20 minutes.  Do not rinse and drink through a straw.  If the bleeding persists, please call.

Diet: Adequate nutrition is essential for normal healing.  A high protein diet is desirable (milk, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, ground meat).  Eat a semi-soft diet and avoid hard foods.  When possible, chew on the other side of the mouth.  

Post surgery diet suggestions:

Have only cool to warm liquids (not hot) to drink after your surgery until the numbness has worn off.  This is to prevent you from burning your lips, cheeks, or tongue.

Do not eat until the numbness has worn off.  This is to prevent you from biting your lips, cheeks or tongue.


     - Eggs (scrambled, soft boiled or poached)

     - Yogurt (avoid seeds)

     - Cottage cheese

     - Creamy soups

     - Mashed potatoes and gravy

     - Hot cereals

     - Applesauce

     - Ice cream

     - Jello

     - Pudding

     - Custard

     - Milk shakes (DO NOT JUST EAT SWEETS)


     - Spaghetti

     - Macaroni and cheese

     - Ravioli

     - Soups with chunks of meat and vegetables

     - Egg salad

     - Tuna salad

     - Ground meat


     - Popcorn

     - All nuts

     - All seeds

     - Chips (taco, tortilla, potato, etc.)

     - Granola

     - Any hard or crunchy foods

Numbness: For several hours after surgery, there may be numbness of the lip and/or tongue.  Call immediately if the numbness does not go away by the following day.  There are things that can be done to help reverse this and needs to be done as soon as needed. 

Medication: Should nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, itching, difficulty breathing or other side effects occur, STOP taking your medication or go to the emergency room, if needed.  Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection.  If antibiotics are prescribed, please take as directed until all are gone. 

  • For women on birth control pills, antibiotics can reduce their effectiveness.  An alternative birth control should be used while taking the antibiotics and for 2 weeks afterward.

Smoking: Smoking can dramatically affect healing and cause premature loss of teeth or implants. 



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