Post-Operative Instructions


Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of these instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office any time for clarification.


Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. If active bleeding persists after one hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30-60 minutes. Changing the gauze may be necessary.


Do not disturb the surgical area today. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe in the area with any objects or your fingers. You may brush your teeth gently. DO NOT SMOKE at least 48 hours, since it is very detrimental to healing, DO NOT USE A STRAW or do anything to create a suction in your mouth. This can delay healing and potentially cause a dry socket.



Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. It may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the surgical areas and biting down firmly for 30-60 minutes.


Bleeding should never be severe. Severe bleeding means that the packs are being clenched between your teeth rather than exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning fresh packs. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in a moist gauze) for 20-30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.


Often there is swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize this by using a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to face and cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. After 72 hours, it is usually best to switch from ice to moist heat to the same areas. (Typically swelling is at a maximum 48-72 hours) after surgery. Soft swelling is normal. Hard swelling may represent infection.


Most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication, and if you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you will be able to manage any discomfort better. Effects of pain medicines vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Some people may even require two of the pain pills at one time during early stages (but that may add to the risk of upset stomach). Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within the first 6 hours as the local anesthetic wears off, after that your need for medicine should lessen.


Nausea is not an uncommon event after surgery, and it may be caused by stronger pain medicines. Nausea may be reduced, by preceding each pill with a small amount of food. Non-carbonated cola drinks may help with nausea. Fortunately, post-operative nausea is gone the day following surgery.


Initially, eat soft food or drink liquid until the numbness is gone. It is sometimes advisable, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (creamed soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.). Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., that may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. It is important not to skip meals! If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible and follow instructions from us or your physician regarding your insulin schedule.


If you feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with you tongue it is probably the bony walls, which originally supported the teeth. Rarely small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery. They are not pieces of tooth. Please call the office if you are concerned.



Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Use one-quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least 2 or 3 times daily for the next five days.


Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean you teeth within the bounds of comfort.


If you were given an irrigating syringe at your first office check-up visit, start using it the third day after surgery to keep sockets clean. Fill it with warm water and irrigate any open sockets gently, especially after eating.


Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first day of surgery is usually the most uncomfortable and there is some degree of swelling and stiffness. The second day should be more comfortable and, although possibly more swollen, you can usually begin a more normal diet. From the third day on GRADUAL, STEADY IMPROVEMENTS should mark the remainder of your post-operative course. If a DRY SOCKET occurs (loss of blood clot from socket, usually on the 3rd to 5th day), there is a noticeable, distinct, persistent throbbing pain in the jaw, often radiating toward the ear and forward along the jaw to cause other teeth to ache. If you do not see steady improvement during the first few days after surgery, don’t suffer needlessly. Call the office and report symptoms so you can be seen as soon as possible. It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office. Please try to call during office hours, however a 24- hour answering service is available for after hours contact with a doctor. Calling during office hours will afford a faster response.

Thank you for allowing our office to serve you.  It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call our office.  Try to call during office hours; however, a 24-hour answering service is available for after-hours contact with a doctor.  Calling during office hours will afford a faster response.