Post-Op Instructions

In order to heal promptly with a minimum amount of discomfort and decreased chances of infection, it is necessary to devote detailed care to your body. Please read these instructions every day while you are recovering, and this will serve as a reminder on a daily basis as to what to do in regards to your postoperative care.


A gauze pad has been placed on the surgery site to control bleeding. Pressure should be applied for one to two hours. It is normal to ooze some blood from the surgical area for up to 24 hours. If bleeding occurs, it is best controlled by pressure. Roll gauze into a tube or square and lightly moisten it, then place it carefully where you see the gum bleeding so that it compresses the surgical site. It must press on the surgical site. The gauze pad should be removed after approximately one hour and the wound reevaluated. If oozing continues, replace the gauze after lightly moistening it. Sit quietly without spitting or talking. Moving the jaw, smoking, spitting, or changing the gauze to often merely dislodges the blood clot so that a new one must be formed. If bleeding persists, soaking gauze with a tea bag and then placing the gauze over the surgical site for one hour may help. If you continue to have significant bleeding please call the office.


Swelling of injured tissues is the body’s normal response to surgery. It usually peaks 2 days afer surgery and will slowly resolve over the next 5-7 days. Sleeping with the head elevated with 2-3 pillows on the day of surgery may help avoid some swelling. Swelling can be minimized with the application of cold packs immediately after surgery for approximately 24 hours. Apply ice packs (frozen peas) to the face for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes of.


Take the pain pills as prescribed after surgery. It will work best if they are taken before the numbness wears off but after eating. Avoid taking the pain pill on an empty stomach. Take the ibuprofen as prescribed. This will usually help keep you comfortable in the presence of mild pain. After taking a prescribed narcotic, do not drive or operate dangerous machinery because your senses and refexes will be diminished. If nausea does occur, sip cold, clear liquids (juices, water, tea, Gatorade, etc). Anti-nausea medicine can be prescribed if nausea persists.


It is imperative to maintain a clean mouth during the healing period. To not do so invites infection by way of accumulation of food and old blood around the wounds. Starting after surgery, gently brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with warm salt water after each meal. Softening the toothbrush under hot water will allow you to brush the teeth adjacent to the surgery site.


Patients should start with clear liquids approximately one hour after the surgery. This includes liquids such as juices, water, iced tea, Gatorade, etc. Once the patient has tolerated clear liquids without any evidence of nausea, the patient may advance to a full liquid diet. This includes milk products, full soups, milkshakes, etc. Care must be taken to avoid biting the lip or cheeks while the numbness persists. A regular diet can be resumed whenever you can comfortably chew.


Smoking greatly increases the chances of delayed wound healing and pain. This may lead to dry sockets; therefore, smoking should be avoided. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided for at least 48 hours after surgery and never should be taken in association with a narcotic pain pill.


Excessive physical exercise, especially lifting, bending over, or straining should be avoided for the first 3-4 days after surgery.


This occurs due to a loss of the blood clot from the surgery site. Symptoms, which occur 3-6 days after surgery, include severe pain not controlled by pain medications and a foul taste or odor in the mouth. Smoking will greatly increase the risk of dry sockets.


Please call us if you have a question or problem. Our concern for you does not stop after the surgery is complete. Someone is available 24 hours a day, and we will be happy to return your call within a reasonable amount of time to assist you with any questions or concerns.