Post-Operative Instructions

Post-operative care is important following oral surgery and recovery may be delayed if this care is neglected. Some swelling, stiffness, oozing of blood and discomfort is expected after surgery. It is helpful to have the patient observed by a responsible adult for the duration of the day of the surgery. The following includes our post-operative instructions and events, which may take place following this kind of surgery.

Day 1

  • Go home and get some rest! Keep your activities minimal.

  • The gauze you left our facility with will need to be changed every 1 to 2 hours for the next 4 to 6 hours, or until the gauze comes out without much blood on it.

  • It is recommended to start your pain medications within the first 1 to 2 hours after leaving surgery, or at the very first onset of pain.

  • However, do not take your pain medications on an empty stomach! If you experience nausea, sipping on Ginger Ale or Sprite will help to soothe the stomach.

  • Soft foods that require little to no chewing are recommended. Be cautious of hot food and drinks when your mouth is still numb. It is very important that you do not drink through a straw for at least 5 to 7 days after surgery.

  • If your doctor prescribed an antibiotic, it is important to start as soon as possible- again, with food in your stomach. Take as prescribed until gone.

  • Do not go home and lay flat! Keep your head elevated while resting for 2 to 3 days- using your ice pack for the first 24 hours (alternating 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off).

  • Avoid brushing, flossing, rinsing or spitting today. Do not sleep with gauze in your mouth!

  • No smoking for at least 3 days after surgery. This can cause further complications and unnecessary pain.

  • If you have been sedated, the anesthesia may make you drowsy and tired for the rest of the day. You should not drive a motor vehicle, operate any dangerous machinery or make responsible decisions the day after surgery.


    Day 2

  • Today, you will start using your ice pack as a heat pack- instructions for heating are located on the back of the pack. Use this for 2 to 3 days, alternating every 20 minutes.

  • Gentle oral care can be resumed, but avoid brushing over the socket for a couple of days. You may notice a small amount of blood the first day or two- this is normal and there is no need for gauze.

  • Continue your soft diet for 4 to 5 days. Gentle swishing with warm salt water is encouraged between meals and after all eating for the next week.

  • If your doctor prescribed you a medicated mouth rinse (Peridex), you will start that today. You should swish with a small amount morning and evening for 7 days with your regular oral care routine.


    Day 3.

  • If you must resume work or an exercise routine, do so lightly- letting pain be your guide.

  • As your swelling decreases, your pain should be getting much better. Try to limit your prescription pain medication use as much as possible. Using over-the-counter pain medications, such as Motrin, Ibuprofen or Tylenol, are a good option, as directed by our surgical assistants and your doctor.

  • Your sutures may start to dissolve, which can take up to 1 week. If your sutures are not dissolvable, your doctor will remove them during your scheduled post-operative appointment.


    Day 4 and 5

  • You should start to see your swelling decrease today and over the following days.
  • You can slowly advance to more solid foods, as well as increase exercise intensity.

  • A bad taste, odor, fever, increased swelling, or pain may occur if cleaning is lacking. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may need to be seen by your doctor.


    Day 6 and 7

  • Stop the use of your medicated mouth rinse (Peridex), unless otherwise directed. You will start using the curve-tipped syringe to rinse the lower molars after eating. Food debris and small amounts of blood may flush out- this means that you are cleaning the socket. Continue using the syringe for 1 to 2 weeks, or until food no longer collects in the socket. This is very important!

  • Increased pain and swelling by this time is uncommon- please contact the office if you are experiencing adverse symptoms. There is a 24 hour answering service after office hours.

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