Post-operative instructions

Immediately following your surgery and until the next morning.
Please go home and rest—even if you feel fine. The more you move around the slower you might heal. Lie down with your head slightly elevated or sit in a reclining position. Especially during the first few hours following surgery, please keep talking to a minimum, as your lips and cheeks act as natural “bandages” during initial healing. Do not rinse or spit for the first 24 hours following surgery, do not use straws or drink hot liquids for the first 7-10 days after surgery either, as these things can start and/or increase bleeding.

When the anesthetic wears off (1-4 hours), you may experience mild-moderate discomfort/pain. Before taking any prescribed medication, carefully read your drug prescription labels and medication fact sheets supplied by the pharmacist. Do not make any changes to any medications you routinely take unless specifically instructed to do so. If you develop any allergic or other adverse reactions to the medication, stop taking the drug. Depending upon the severity of the reaction, call our office or the pharmacy or go to a local hospital emergency room. Do not take Aspirin. However, some patients have conditions that require them to use Aspirin. In that case, please follow customized instructions given to you by Dr. Gasper. Unless instructed to do otherwise please take 400mg Ibuprofen/Motrin/Advil every 4-6 hours as needed for pain- do not exceed 2400mg in 24 hours. You may also take 1 tablet of regular strength Tylenol/Acetaminophen or Percocet or Norco (if prescribed) every 4-6 hours for extra pain relief. Do not combine Tylenol with Percocet or Norco. Do not exceed 4000mg of Tylenol per 24 hours (Percocet and Norco include Tylenol). If instructed to take antibiotics, please continue to take them as directed. Narcotics can cause constipation, so please take over the counter stool softeners to prevent constipation and drink plenty of water. Narcotic pain medications and sedative drugs impair motor skills and sensory awareness and cause sedation. Do not drive motor vehicles or operate potentially dangerous equipment while under the influence of these drugs. Check with your physician to insure that there will not be significant adverse reactions between medications prescribed for your surgery and other drugs that you are taking. Follow these instructions to help minimize discomfort. It is quite normal if you experience more discomfort approximately 4-8 days after surgery. Don’t worry! Discomfort typically diminishes thereafter.

For the next few days you will probably notice some sporadic oozing and slight bleeding. This is quite normal. Please do not repeatedly rinse your mouth as it can prolong the bleeding. For patients who have had tissue transplanted from the roof of the mouth (palate): the roof of the mouth tends to ooze more than other areas. This is very normal. Follow special instructions, if given to you. If bleeding persists to the extent that it bothers you, moisten a black caffeinated tea bag (not herbal tea) and apply firm yet gentle pressure against the bleeding site on the palate for fifteen minutes. Repeat, if needed, a second time. IF EXCESS BLEEDING CONTINUES, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE.

If you have been given a stent, please do not remove the stent for the first 24 hours. You may remove the stent in case of excessive bleeding and a need to apply pressure directly onto the incision site but then place it back in after the bleeding is controlled. The need to remove the stent to control the bleeding is unusual since the stent itself applies pressure and reduces risk of bleeding. After the first 24 hours, continue to wear the stent for the first 1-2 weeks except when brushing or flossing. Remove the stent to clean after eating and then put it back in after applying a thin coat of Vaseline onto the stent on the same side as the donor area.

If you have been given a removable prosthesis to wear after your procedure to replace a missing tooth/teeth, please follow customized instructions you have been given by Dr. Gasper and/or your general dentist. If you notice any pressure on the healing tissue from the prosthesis, remove the prosthesis and let Dr. Gasper know so that adjustments to the prosthesis can be made.

Slight swelling around the surgical site is not unusual and may be present after surgery. The swelling will peak approximately 2-3 days after surgery. Keeping your head elevated above the level of your heart for the first few day can help minimize swelling. Use extra pillows while sleeping. Avoid sleeping on the side of the surgery. Use ice therapy for the first 24 hours after surgery. Starting immediately after the surgery and for the first 24 hours after the surgery, place an ice pack on your face over the surgical area (10-15 minutes “on” then 10-15 minutes “off”). Be gentle and do not apply pressure to your face. Avoid pushing up or pulling down on your skin with the ice pack.

Helpful hint: Use moldable soft ice packs, zip-lock bags with chipped ice or small plastic bags of frozen peas or corn.

If you use frozen food, please discard after use. Do not put the cold plastic directly on your skin: wrap the cold pack with a paper towel.

Do not use moist heat during the first 48 hours following surgery. After that time, if some swelling or bruising is present, consider applying moist heat on your face over the surgical area without applying pressure. It will increase circulation and decrease swelling/bruising. Wrap the heat pack in a slightly dampened towel or use a microwave-type moist heating pad. Be careful not to burn your skin.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES No alcohol for 7 to 10 days post surgery
It is recommended that you refrain from alcohol intake for 7-10 days following surgery. Alcohol can delay wound healing and/or cause increased bleeding. Do not drink alcohol while under the influence of narcotic pain relievers.

No exercise for 7 days following surgery.

Remain on soft diet for the first 7-14 days after surgery. Drink lots of water, avoid spicy foods and small seeds. Please do not chew on the side of the procedure for 6 weeks.

SMOKING *** No Smoking***
For the first 3-7 days following surgery, do not smoke. Any type or amount of smoking significantly retards surgical healing and makes you more susceptible to complications including but not limited to infections, graft/implant failure, poor surgical outcomes and prolonged sensitivity/pain. Some patients may be asked to refrain from smoking for a longer period of time prior to and after the procedure.

In all areas of your mouth that were not treated at this time, please continue with your daily self-care procedures as previously prescribed. For the surgically treated areas, please follow the customized instructions you receive at your surgical appointment. Please do not start brushing and/or flossing surgical sites unless specifically instructed to do so. You will receive instructions at each follow-up appointment.

Please use your prescribed mouthwash starting 48 hours after your surgery to gently soak the surgical area twice per day, 30 seconds each time for total of 3 days. Do not use any commercial mouthwashes for 6 weeks.

Please do not pull your sutures or push on them with your tongue. If they bother you, please call our office for instructions. Self-dissolving sutures will loosen and drop after a few days.

If you have had a sinus augmentation procedure, please do not blow your nose for 1 month after the procedure. If you need to sneeze, do not pinch your nose. Please sneeze and/or cough freely into your arm without occluding your nose or mouth. This is to prevent pressure from going into your sinuses. If you have signs of congestions, fullness in your face, runny nose, etc., please contact Dr. Gasper.

If you have a dressing placed in a surgical area, we will let you know how to care of it. In general, do not disturb the dressing. Small pieces may chip off and come out – that is normal and does not need to be addressed unless it’s uncomfortable.

You may also call/text message Dr. Gasper directly at 415-887-8652 or email her at: