For some preventative and reconstructive dentistry procedures, such as tooth extraction or implant placement, it is not uncommon for a mild healing period to follow your appointment. At Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey, our skilled team of Morristown dentists and dental professionals knows a well-informed patient is better equipped to make decisions about their care, which is why we provide many resources to help answer all of your questions about the treatment process and subsequent recovery. Dr. Edward Romano, Dr. Robert Bizzarro, or Dr. Kathleen Dunn will give you more detailed post-operative information in person, but the following can serve as a brief primer of what you can potentially expect with regard to recovery after certain treatments.
- Care Instructions Before and After Anesthesia
- Wisdom Teeth Removal Aftercare
- Care Instructions After Dental Implant Surgery
- Care Instructions After Tooth Extraction
Anesthesia Care Instructions
Some oral procedures, such as wisdom teeth removal and implant surgery, will require the use of an anesthetic to help ensure your treatment progresses with as much safety and comfort as possible. Prior to your surgical appointment:
- Do not eat or drink anything, including water, for eight hours.
- Do not smoke for at least 12 hours before your procedure. If possible, try to quit smoking altogether six weeks before and after surgery.
- Arrange for a friend or loved one (at least 18 years old) to drive you to and from our practice. It is encouraged they wait in our reception area during the procedure so they are readily available to take you home for recovery.
- Please remove contact lenses, jewelry, dentures, and excessive makeup.
- Please notify our office if you are experiencing any type of illness, such as a cold, sore throat, upset stomach, or bowel issues. Also, be sure to make your oral surgeon aware of any medications you may be taking regularly.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours following anesthesia administration.
- Do not smoke, as this can increase post-operative pain and slow down the healing of your teeth and gums.
- If additional pain management is necessary after treatment, only take the medications and/or antibiotics that your oral surgeon has prescribed to you or cleared.
- Rest for at least 24 to 48 hours after oral surgery.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Aftercare
Wisdom teeth removal is considered a fairly involved dental procedure that normally requires a brief healing period. Recovery often varies from person to person depending on how many wisdom teeth are removed and whether or not they are impacted. In any case, it is essential to follow your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions to minimize the risk of infection or other complications. Following surgery:
- Keep gauze pads in place for at least thirty minutes, after which you may discard the gauze. Do not touch the treated area(s) with your fingers or tongue.
- Expect to rest for the remainder of the day and restrict your daily activities as necessary. Only resume your normal routine when you feel comfortable.
- Rinse your mouth gently to avoid bleeding.
- Take any prescribed medications as necessary. Mild to moderate discomfort can typically be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol® and Extra-Strength Tylenol®; however, more severe pain may be managed using the prescribed medications.
- For the first 36 hours that you are awake after surgery, place ice packs on the sides of the face where your wisdom teeth were removed; after this period, apply moist heat to the area(s) to minimize swelling.
During the length of your recovery, you may also experience:
- Bleeding: If your gums start to bleed, carefully rinse or wipe out any old blood clots and bite firmly on a gauze pad for thirty minutes. If bleeding persists, gently biting on a tea bag can allow the tannic acid to form clots and encourage contraction of blood vessels. Don’t hesitate to call our office if bleeding continues.
- Swelling: Facial swelling is likely to last for two to three days after your procedure. Apply ice packs and moist heat as directed above to manage swelling around the cheeks, mouth, jaws, or eyes. Remember that swelling is the body’s natural response to surgery and inflammation should give way to subsequent healing.
Dental Implant Surgery Recovery
Dental implants are titanium posts placed in the gumline to stimulate bone tissue and ultimately restore a missing tooth. While most patients heal quickly after dental implant surgery and can resume their normal routines with little to no inconvenience, recovery ultimately depends on lifestyle choices, the number of teeth affected, and how closely you follow aftercare instructions.
Bleeding, Swelling, and Discomfort
Some bleeding and swelling can be expected after implant surgery, and these reactions are generally more prevalent in the first 36 hours after your procedure. Discomfort is usually managed well with ice packs and oral pain medication. Be sure to take any antibiotics as prescribed by your oral surgeon. If excessive bleeding occurs, bite down on a gauze pad for thirty minutes and repeat as necessary. Call our practice for further instructions if bleeding continues.
Stick to a soft-food diet immediately after surgery and avoid salty foods, as well as very hot or cold food and drink. Extreme temperatures and a high salt intake can aggravate swelling. Additionally, avoid alcohol until otherwise directed. Try to limit yourself to nutritious, healthy foods and plenty of fluids, as a poor diet and/or alcohol can slow the healing process.
Do not smoke for as long as your oral surgeon instructs you to avoid doing so—smoking can not only impair healing, but it can also lead to infection and implant failure. Limit your physical activity in the first few days after surgery to decrease the risk of bleeding.
Good oral hygiene is pivotal to the proper healing of your teeth and gums. To keep the mouth clean and free of bacteria, use any rinses as instructed and be cautious to gently brush around your abutments. There is usually no extra maintenance necessary after implant surgery besides routine oral hygiene.
Tooth Extraction Aftercare
When a tooth is removed, the healing process typically begins once bleeding subsides and a blood clot starts to form. After the extraction of your tooth:
- You will be instructed to bite down on a gauze pad for at least 30 minutes in order to taper off bleeding. This process may be repeated until bleeding starts to diminish.
- Use ice packs to manage swelling, which should start to subside approximately 48 hours after your procedure.
- Do not rinse vigorously, use straws, smoke, drink alcohol, or brush near the affected area for at least 72 hours to avoid dislodging the blood clot.
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft, healthy food. Avoid food that is spicy, chewy, or sour.
- Do not engage in strenuous physical activity, as high blood pressure can trigger bleeding. If you start to feel blood or throbbing in the gums, discontinue the activity.
- You may brush and floss normally after 24 hours.
For more information about what you can expect after treatment with our cosmetic dentists, please call Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey to speak with a member of our team.