Post-Operative Instructions Following Oral Surgery

Please read these instructions carefully as they will help you to understand the normal body reactions following surgery and help to keep you as comfortable as possible. Surgery of the mouth requires careful attention to post-operative instructions.


You may experience discomfort, especially during the first 12 to 24 hours. Take the medications prescribed as indicated on the prescription. The initial dose will take 45 minutes to become effective. Take 1 or 2 pills every 3-4 hours as needed. For mild discomfort, you may need only Advil, Tylenol, etc. When taking the pills, be sure to drink liquids, to help prevent an upset stomach. If you develop rash of hives, stop all mediations, and call the office. The prescription may not control all of you pain the first few days after surgery.

CAUTION: The prescription may make you drowsy. Do not drive or operate mechanical equipment after taking pain medication.


It is normal to have some bleeding, pink or red saliva, or clot formation during the first 24 hours. Do not be alarmed, maintain the gauze packing for 1 hour with firm biting pressure. Keep your head elevated while sleeping or lying down. Do not disturb the wound with your fingers or by sucking on it. Avoid rinsing or spitting the day of surgery, as this may cause additional bleeding. If bleeding is excessive, place a thumb sided roll of sterile gauze or moistened tea bag over the wound and bite firmly for 1 hour with constant pressure. If excessive bleeding persists longer than a few hours, call the office for further instructions.


Some swelling is expected to develop, and it may be significant. It is not unusual for swelling to peak 3-4 days after surgery, and then slowly subside. Apply ice packs during the first 24 hours, 1 hour on and 1 hour off. After 24 hours, if swelling persists, use warm moist packs for 20 minutes every hour.

Oral Hygiene

Do not rinse or brush the day of the surgery. The day after the surgery, rinse gently every 1 or 2 hours with a solution of warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large glass of warm water.) You should brush your teeth but be careful of the surgical site. Avoid mouthwashes.


DO NOT SMOKE after your procedures. Smoking is detrimental to wound healing.

Physical Activities

Avoid fatigue and keep activities to a minimum after surgery.


A soft non-chewy diet, avoiding hot liquids, is advised today. Resume your normal diet as soon as possible, and drink plenty of liquids. If you are diabetic, maintain your caloric intake, and take your medications as usual. If diarrhea occurs, call the office.


A small amount of carbonated 7-Up or ginger ale every hour for 5-6 hours will usually terminate nausea. Follow this with weak tea or clear broth, avoiding juices, or dairy products. If nausea persists, call the office.

Care of the IV Site

If any intravenous anesthesia was used, keep the injection site clean. Avoid strenuous or repetitive activity for 48 to 72 hours. Advise us immediately of any unusual soreness, pain or swelling around the injection site.

Immediate Dentures

If you had dentures placed, do not remove them. They will be removed by the doctor or your general dentist at a future appointment.

Other Medication

Continue other medications which you may have been taking routinely before your treatment in our office (unless otherwise directed.) If antibiotics have been prescribed, please continue, and complete the entire dosage. Warning: Antibiotics may inhibit the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

You May Experience

  • Swelling around the surgical site.
  • Stiffness, causing difficulty in opening the mouth.
  • A slight earache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Numbness of the lip or chin on the side from which the tooth was removed. (this is most often a temporary condition.)
  • Pain in other teeth.
  • Dryness or cracking of the lips. Keep the moist with Vaseline
  • Bruising on the face. This will slowly subside.
  • A sight elevation of temperature.

Telephone Calls

Please tell the receptionist the nature of your call. Some matters can be handled through our office communications system, making a return call unnecessary. If necessary, the doctor will return you call as soon as possible.

Our telephone is answered 24 hours a day. When the office is closed, our answering service can usually reach the doctor in a short time. Please call the office number.

Try to anticipate the need for prescription refills and call during office hours so that we can refer to your records. Please have the pharmacy phone number available when you call.


Sinus Involvement Instructions

Due to the close relationship to the sinus, a communication will sometimes remain between the mouth and the sinus. This may have occurred in your case; therefore, it is important to follow these instructions.

  1. The prescriptions as directed.
  2. Bite on the gauze pack that has been placed over the wound for at least two hours.
  3. Do not blow your nose.
  4. Do not sneeze through your nose. If the urge to sneeze arises, sneeze with your mouth open.
  5. Do not use a straw or smoke a pipe.
  6. DO NOT SMOKE for a minimum of 48 hours
  7. Avoid swimming and strenuous exercise for at least one week.
  8. Begin gently rinsing with a saline solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of water.)
  9. Maintain good oral hygiene.
  10. It is not uncommon to have a slight amount of bleeding from the nose for several days.