Home Care Instructions for Tissue Grafts

You have just completed the surgical phase of periodontal therapy. As with any surgical procedure, some tenderness and swelling are normal and to be expected after a tissue graft. Follow the instructions below to promote healing.


800 mg of Advil, Ibuprofen, or Motrin is to be taken every 6 hours for 3 days. This helps to minimize discomfort and reduce swelling. If other medications are prescribed, take as directed. Take the next dose as directed.


Apply ice to the outside of your face at the surgical site, alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, for 6 hours after surgery. This helps minimize swelling which generally occurs 24 to 72 hours after surgery. Swelling lasts about 4 hours then subsides. DO NOT use ice after 6 hours.


Salt water rinses are to begin the day following surgery and should continue until you return to the office for your first postoperative visit. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water and gently swish as if using mouthwash. This will bathe the surgical area and promote healing. Rinses should be done 3 to 5 times a day.


Avoid the surgical site. Eat soft foods and drink lots of liquids until your first postoperative visit. Examples include pasta, ground beef, fish, soups, etc.


Do not brush the surgical site, but do brush your teeth.


This dressing protects the surgical site and will be removed at your postoperative visit. It may dislodge or loosen as mouth activity increases. If it is dislodged, remove and discard the dressing. Begin to gently brush the surgical area to remove plaque buildup which can cause increased sensitivity. Do not floss in the surgical area until instructed.


Do not pull at your lip or look at the surgery site. Do not drink through a straw. Do not smoke. Avoid vigorous exercise, extreme mouth movements, and mouth swishing.


If you have prolonged pain, severe bleeding, a fever, or any other urgent questions or concerns, please contact us. For our Rocky River office, call 440-331-3044. For our Strongsville office, call 440-238-4000. If you call outside our business hours, our voicemail message will provide Dr. Tom’s personal number. Dr. Tom is often available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency.

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