If you’ve scheduled gum grafting surgery, you may be wondering how to care for and clean the area of grafting afterwards. While your dental team will provide detailed guidelines for care, there are some general rules to follow.
Take Appropriate Medication
If an antibiotic is prescribed, be sure to start taking it the very first day unless you are told otherwise, and always use it to completion. To avoid an upset stomach, be sure to take it with food and liquid.
For pain relief, usually over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen when taken 3 times a day should suffice, unless your dental team prescribes a different pain-relief medication. You should start taking the pain relief on the day you have the surgery, and continue for the next five days, as well as thereafter as needed. However, limit medication consumption to no more than a week.
You can also combine ibuprofen with acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
Other Analgesic Procedures
To also reduce both pain and swelling:
- Use a cold pack ten minutes at a time for twice an hour the day after surgery and the following day.
- Sleep at a slight incline to keep your head above your heart
- Both will cut down on any post-operative swelling which also makes healing go more quickly and painlessly.
Cleaning the Area Around the Gum Graft
- Your dentist will recommend salt water rinses with warm salt water, 4 to 5 times a day for 7 to 14 days. Gently rinse your mouth with a mixture of a half teaspoon of salt in an eight ounce glass of warm, not hot, water. No swishing - this can disrupt healing.You should start using a salt water rinse the day after your gum grafting procedure.
- Don’t brush the grafting area or otherwise disturb it during the first week of healing.
- During the second week after surgery, use an extra-soft toothbrush that your dentist provides, a special brush for post-operative cleaning for use ONLY around the area where the graft was placed. You should use your regular toothbrush in the non-surgical area of your mouth.
Overall Oral Care After Gum Grafting Surgery
After seven days post-surgery, you should gently and carefully brush the area using the extra-soft postoperative toothbrush only around the teeth in the area where the graft was placed.
Don’t floss around the area that was worked on for 4 weeks, because you could accidentally remove stitches placed at the grafting site.
Four Weeks Post-Grafting
You shouldn’t have any further oral hygiene restrictions with brushing.
However, don’t use a water-pick, or electric toothbrush around the area of grafting for 6 weeks after the surgery.
Recommended Post-Grafting Diet
Along with the importance of careful dental hygiene, you will also need to take precautions with what you eat following a gum grafting procedure. Stick to liquids and soft food like smoothies, pudding, and cold soups for the first few days, and avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus juice, because these can cause discomfort or irritation.
While your dental team will provide specific information here too, in general:
- Chew away from your graft area
- Avoid any foods that could get stuck to the site like nuts, seeds, popcorn for four weeks
- Avoid hot foods and drinks for the first seven days following surgery
- Don’t use a straw for at least three weeks
- No smoking for the first seven days
Ready to Learn More about Cleaning and Care for Gum Graft Procedures?
If you need to schedule a gum grafting procedure, or need to learn more about aftercare, reach out to us today. At Barkoff Dental, we are here to help!