Here are some guidelines for socket graft postoperative care, although you should consult specific instructions if you have received:

Wound Care: It’s best not to disturb the surgical site. Leave the gauze in place, and only change gently as necessary. You can bite down with gentle pressure on the gauze to hold it in place and slow the bleeding. Some people find a black tea bag pressed against the wound can help slow or stop bleeding. Although gradual oozing of blood may persist, bleeding should stop within 48 hours. If bleeding persists or worsens, please contact us.

Please do not inspect, disturb, or probe the wound.

Swelling: Swelling after surgery is normal. You should see swelling increase for the first two or three days, but you can help control it by applying ice. Apply ice packs or a bag of frozen peas for 20-30 minutes, then rest for the same period. Applying ice as much as possible during the first 24 hours will significantly reduce swelling and help control discomfort.

Discomfort: Discomfort after surgery is to be expected, but it can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication or your prescription pain medication. Start medication at the first tingle of sensation returning after postsurgical numbness. Starting medication before pain starts will reduce your discomfort overall. Some pain medication can cause nausea, so take it with food to help keep nausea under control.

Discomfort should start to diminish within the first five days after surgery. If pain worsens, is too severe to be controlled with medication, or requires medication beyond guidelines to control, contact us.

Diet: A cool, liquid diet is recommended for care for the first couple days after surgery. Please don’t move to soft foods until after your first postoperative visit. Avoid a straw for at least 72 hours after surgery. When instructed, start your soft food diet gradually, chewing away from the surgical area. Don’t eat hot foods, spicy foods, and foods that break into hard particles until instructed.

Do not consume alcohol for at least 72 hours after surgery.

It’s important to eat a good mix of healthy foods after surgery. You may not be hungry, and may be nauseous from medication, but you should not miss meals. A multivitamin can help you get the nutrients you need to heal but is not a substitute for healthy food.

Do not drink alcohol for at least 72 hours after surgery.

Smoking: Smoking can significantly impair bone healing and integration of your graft. Do not smoke for at least 8 weeks after surgery. Avoid nicotine replacement products as well. It’s best to quit smoking altogether.

Activity: If your heart rate becomes elevated, your bleeding will increase. Do not exercise for 24 hours after your procedure. Then you can return to light work and exercise, but avoid strenuous recreation, work, or exercise for at least 72 hours after your procedure.

Medications: We will give you instructions about taking your prescription medication. Follow these exactly. If you have other prescription medications, make sure you tell us about them before your procedure, and we will tell you how and when to take them after surgery. This includes over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. If you forgot something or have questions about a specific medication, please call us or your prescribing doctor.

Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss on the day of surgery before bed, avoiding the surgical area. Don’t rinse your mouth for at least 24 hours after surgery. Then you can use a prescription or saltwater rinse (use ½ tsp per 8 ounce glass of water). Rinse gently at first.

After 72 hours you can begin gently brushing the surgical area.

Appliances and Restorations: If you have a protective or cosmetic appliance, we will tell you when and how to wear it. We will also give you instructions on whether to remove it, how to clean it, and how to care for it. If you have a fixed restoration attached to your dental implant, we will describe how to clean it.

Watch for Complications: Complications related to bone grafts are rare, but they can be serious. Watch for warning signs, such as:

  • Increasing or excessive pain
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop or increases
  • Vomiting or nausea that isn’t caused by pain medication
  • Localized warmth
  • Fever
  • Pus, foul odor, or foul taste from surgical site

If you experience these complications, or if you are not healing by a week after your procedure, please contact us.
If you have additional questions about these after care instructions, your prescriptions, or your condition, do not hesitate to call 201-343-4044. We will answer your questions, and, if necessary, schedule an appointment with an implant dentist at the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.