After a Connective Tissue Graft
For the first 24–48 hours, do not:
- Disturb the graft site
- Use straws
- Vigorously rinse, swish, or spit
Some bleeding is expected after any surgical procedure and is a normal part of healing. You may have bleeding and/or redness in the saliva for 24–48 hours. Gauze will be provided to you to help control bleeding following your procedure. You will need to moisten the gauze with ice cold water, squeeze out the excess water, and hold firm pressure for 20–30 minutes. You may have to do this several times. A small amount of bleeding can continue intermittently for a few days, especially if the area is stimulated by movement. Any physical activity will raise your heart rate and increase bleeding, so minimize any exercise for a few days following surgery.
Stitches were placed inside your mouth; they will dissolve on their own. If non-dissolving sutures were placed, we will remove them at your post-op visit.
Swelling is also a normal part of post-operative healing and can increase for 2–3 days following any surgery, slowly resolving after this. You may apply an ice pack to the area for 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours; this will help minimize pain and swelling during this time. After 24 hours, you may switch to warm moist heat.
If you have been sedated for your procedure, you may not drive for 24 hours. You may also have been prescribed a narcotic pain medication. If so, you also cannot drive while taking this. An antibiotic mouth rinse (Peridex™) may be prescribed to help keep the area clean. If so, do not use until the morning after your procedure to avoid stimulating further bleeding. If an antibiotic was prescribed, make sure to take as directed and until completely gone to help prevent infection.
You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For mild to moderate pain, ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) may be taken. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 3 tablets may be taken every 6 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed pain medication should be taken as directed with food. Do not take any of the above medications if you are allergic or have been instructed by your doctor not to do so.
Hydration and nutrition are important for healing following surgery. You may be more comfortable with a soft diet initially, but you can eat what you like. You are only limited by your discomfort. Stick to cold and/or soft foods and liquids while you are numb. Remember to always eat prior to taking any pain medication to avoid nausea. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
Good oral hygiene is essential to healing. Do not rinse your mouth for the first post-operative day or while there is bleeding. After the first day, use a warm water rinse or the prescribed antibacterial mouth rinse (Peridex™, as directed) following meals to flush out particles of food and debris that may lodge in the operated area. Continue brushing and flossing your teeth with a soft bristle brush. You may brush and floss your teeth the night of surgery; remember, no vigorous swishing or spitting. You may brush and floss around the surgical site, just be gentle initially.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you exercise, throbbing and/or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking in normal nourishment, which may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise. Limit any vigorous exercise for 24 hours after surgery, as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the grafting site.