Tissue Graft Recovery Instructions
Tissue grafting is very susceptible to excessive movement. It is very important to follow these post-operative instructions carefully to ensure you have the best result.
DO NOT PULL ON THE LIPS OR CHEEKS WHERE THE GRAFTS WERE DONE BECAUSE THIS COULD COMPROMISE THE GRAFT. It is best to avoid looking at the graft so that you’re not tempted to pull on your lips or cheek too much. A liquid to soft diet should be followed the first week. If surgery was only done on one side, then you can return to a normal diet on the other side after that first week. However, make sure to use a knife and fork and insert food and only chew with the unaffected side. If surgery was done on both sides, then you need to make sure you stay on a soft diet for as long as your doctor recommended. Avoid hot, spicy foods, carbonated, and acidic drinks. Any soups should not be too hot before consuming.
Do not brush the grafted teeth or any surrounding teeth for 24 hours. After the first 24 hours, you may gently brush any teeth that were not grafted. Continue to NOT BRUSH the grafted teeth. Also be more cautious and do not brush any teeth that may be too close to the graft. Use warm salt water rinse twice a day for one month. Use a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Swish gently for 30 seconds and spit. Although you cannot brush the grafted teeth, you may dip a Q-Tip in warm salt water, and swab the teeth. Make sure to not touch the gums. Do this morning and night for one month. You can only brush and floss the teeth that were not treated.
Some bleeding is normal for the first few days following surgery. Bleeding will mainly occur from the roof of the mouth. Connective tissue grafting rarely has much bleeding from the roof of the mouth. Free gingival grafts have a tendency to bleed more and your doctor will most likely have made you a palatal stent for the roof of your mouth. This stent will help to decrease your bleeding. If you are instructed to wear a palatal stent, DO NOT REMOVE IT FOR 24 HOURS. After 24 hours, you can wear it as much as you please, especially while you eat, for your comfort. It must be taken out at night and cleaned with a soft toothbrush and warm water.
If you were not prescribed a palatal stent, apply moderate pressure with a moist gauze pad over the bleeding site for 20 minutes, as needed.
Some swelling is normal after surgery. Apply ice for 10 minutes on, few mins off for the first 2 days. Swelling usually peaks 2-3 days after surgery, but can last up to 5 days after surgery.
INFECTION & PAIN KILLERS:
If antibiotics were prescribed, take them as directed and finish the prescription. If you smoke, do not smoke 2 weeks heading into the surgery and for at least 4 weeks after surgery. Smoking will significantly decrease the healing process and cause failure of your procedure. Take your pain medication as needed.
Sutures that are placed on the palate (roof of the mouth) will dissolve in 3-7 days after surgery. The sutures that are on the graft sites ARE NOT DISSOLVABLE and will need to be removed at the 1 month post op appt.