Many post-operative directions are specific to the surgery performed. The typical recovery symptoms can vary as well. There are some common instructions associated with certain procedures.
If you have had a tooth extracted or undergone wisdom tooth removal, you should:
- Not rinse or spit aggressively for 48 hours
- Avoid using a straw
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
- Expect minor swelling
Notify your dentist if bleeding persists or pain increases after three or four days. You should also let your doctor know if you continue to experience numbness after the first day. Severe throbbing pain in the area or persistent bad breath may signal a serious condition known as dry socket and require a trip to your dentist’s office for additional treatment.
After dental implant placement surgery, you will likely experience swelling and bruising, as well as sensitivity to cold. These symptoms should resolve on their own within a few days. During the initial healing period, you should avoid:
- Ice, ice cream, cold drinks, and solids, if they are causing discomfort
- Sticky or hard foods
- Applying pressure to the implant with your tongue or fingers
If numbness persists after the first day, notify your dentist. You should also contact the office if bleeding persists or pain increases after three days. If your implant or restoration feels loose, let your dentist know.
After a bone graft procedure, keep in mind that the grafting material can move during the healing period. You should not rinse or spit aggressively for at least seven days. Additionally, avoid pressing on the treatment area with your tongue or fingers. Pulling or lifting your lip to look at your sutures can put unnecessary pressure on the area and tear the stitches, so be gentle with the area until the sutures dissolve or your dentist removes them.
Persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding can all indicate a complication.
You may feel small granules around the area for the first several days. This sensation is no cause for alarm. However, if a suture falls out within the first three days or you feel an extensive amount of granules, notify your doctor immediately. Your bandage should also stay firmly in place for the first three days. If not, your dentist needs to replace it.
A sinus lift is a delicate procedure. Your dentist may recommend you use antihistamines or a decongestant to alleviate pressure in the area during healing. For the first two weeks, do not blow your nose or sniff forcefully. You should also avoid going swimming or sitting in a hot tub. In addition, you should:
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
- Sneeze with your mouth open to minimize pressure on the sinus area
- Avoid using a straw or spitting forcefully
- Take all medications as directed, including the nasal spray
- Avoid pulling or lifting your lip to look at sutures
Minor bleeding from your nose is not uncommon after a sinus lift and should pass quickly. You may also notice small granules in your mouth for the first few days. This is normal. However, if you feel them in your nose, notify your dentist right away.
When to Contact Your Doctor
In general, you should contact your dentist’s office if you feel something is not right. Persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding can all indicate a complication. If you develop a fever, you may have an infection that requires additional care. Your dentist will provide more specific instructions on what to do after your procedure.