General Post Op Instructions

PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.  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 at any time for clarification.


First Hour-Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical area(s), making sure they remain in place.  Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not being controlled.  Remove gauze after one hour.  If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30-60 minutes.  The gauze may be changed as necessary and may be dampened and/or fluffed for more comfortable positioning.

Exercise Care-Do not disturb the surgical area today.  DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects or your fingers.  You may brush your teeth gently.  DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, as this is detrimental to healing.

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

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

Swelling-Often there is some 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 the face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area.  This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 12-24 hours after surgery.  If you have been prescribed medication for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed.  After 24 hours it is usually best to switch from ice to moist heat applied to the same areas.

Pain-Unfortunately, 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 your discomfort more effectively.  Effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals.  Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic wears off.  

Nausea-Nausea is not an uncommon event after surgery, and it is sometimes caused by strong pain medications.  Nausea may be alleviated by preceding each pill with a small amount of soft food, then taking the pill with a large volume of water.  Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize the pain medication, but call us if you do not feel better or if repeated vomiting is a problem.

Diet-Eat any nourishing food that can be taken comfortably.  Temperature of the food doesn’t matter, but avoid extremely hot foods.  It is sometimes advisable, but not required, to confine the first day’s intake to bland liquids or pureed foods such as creamed soups, puddings, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.  Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc.that may get lodged in the surgical sites.  Over the next few days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace.  It is important not to skip meals.  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.

Sharp Edges-You may feel sharp edges at the surgical site.  These are most likely the bony walls which originally supported the teeth.  Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery.  They are not pieces of tooth and, if necessary, we will remove them.  Please call the office if you are concerned.



Mouth Rinses-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 5 minutes to use the entire glassful.

Brushing-Begin your normal 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 your teeth within the bounds of comfort.

Syringe-If you were given an irrigating syringe, start using it on the third day after surgery to keep sockets clean.  Fill it with warm water and gently irrigate any open sockets, especially after eating.

Dry Sockets-Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows:  The day of surgery is usually the most uncomfortable and there is some degree of swelling and stiffness.  The second day you will usually be far more comfortable and, although still swollen, you can usually begin a more substantial diet.  From the third day on, GRADUAL, STEADY IMPROVEMENT should mark the remainder of your postoperative course.  If a dry socket occurs (loss of blood clot from the socket, usually on the third to fifth day) there is a noticeable, distinct, persistent throbbing pain of 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 your symptoms so you can be seen as soon as possible.


DO NOT chew directly on the implant area for a minimum of six weeks. After the gum tissue has healed around the implant, begin brushing the healing abutment (small metal piece even with your gums). Your doctor will see you after one week for a post-op visit and then in about three months to check for implant stability. If you notice the healing abutment getting loose or taller or it has fallen out, please call the office.  In some cases a healing abutment is not placed.


DO NOT chew directly on the bone graft site for a minimum of six weeks. It is not unusual to lose a small amount of bone graft material.  It is important to not suck through a straw for a couple of days, as this may increase bone loss and bleeding.   

It is our desire that your recovery is as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress please call our office.  PLEASE TRY TO CALL DURING OFFICE HOURS.  Calling during office hours will afford a faster response.  However, a 24-hour answering service is available for after hours contact with a doctor.

Office Phone: (504) 456-5033