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Post-Operative Instructions: Oral Surgery

This page explains general post-operative recommendations following oral surgery procedures. Though comprehensive in nature, individual modifications may be recommended.  Please do not hesitate to discuss any specific concerns you have with your dentist.

  • Local anesthetic was used today typically this wears off within 2-4 hours though this may vary depending on the type of anesthetic used.  
  • A gauze pack has been placed on the extraction site, maintain firm biting pressure for 30-45 minutes.  Should bleeding remain after this time period, moisten a new piece of gauze and hold pressure for an additional 30-45 minutes.  If not successful, repeat with gauze soaked in a strong solution of tea for another 30 minutes.  Should these measures be unsuccessful, call our office for additional instructions.
  • Residual soreness, discomfort and/or throbbing of the area treated may last for several days to several weeks and will generally dissipate as the region heals. 
  • Do not brush your teeth until tomorrow.  Do not rinse your mouth or use mouthwash for 24 hours.  After this period, you may resume your regular oral hygiene routine, while being careful to not disturb the extraction site(s).
  • Activities that create negative pressure (sucking on straw, vigorous swishing, spitting, etc.) can disrupt the blood clot, a vital aspect of the healing process.  Refrain from these activities for a minimum of 3 days.  
  • Do not smoke for a minimum of 7 days.
  • Soft food diet is recommended for 1-3 days with an increase in consistency as tolerated.  Try not to skip any meals and stay hydrated.
  • Nausea is not uncommon after surgery, often this may be exacerbated by stronger pain medications.  If a pain medication was prescribed, taking each pill with a small amount of soft food may reduce nausea.  Drink lots of water and minimize the use of pain medication, as tolerated.  Please call if repeated vomiting becomes a problem.
  • Facial swelling or discoloration (bruising) is not uncommon.  Bruising may persist for several weeks and is considered normal.  An icepack may relieve soreness in the affected area; use in increments of 20 minutes per hour, as needed.  
  • Warm saltwater (1/2-1tsp salt to 1c water) rinses may assist in minimizing irritation to gums surrounding the treated area.  You may begin rinsing the day following surgery.
  • Rest is recommended to allow your body to properly heal, try to keep physical activity to a minimum the days following surgery with an increase in activity as tolerated.
  • Follow pain management strategies as recommended by your dentist. Please be aware of the noted daily maximums and take medications only as directed by your dentist/doctor.  Today we discussed the following over the counter medications:
    • Ibuprofen (“Advil”) 600mg every 6-8 hours [note: 3200mg/24 hour maximum]
    • Acetaminophen (“Tylenol”) 650mg every 6-8 hours [note: 4000mg/24 hour maximum]
    • Naproxen sodium (“Aleve”) 250mg every 8 hours [note: 1250mg/24 hour maximum]
  • If you experience an increase in pain after 3-10 days, it may be indicative of a dry socket.  Please call our office as you may need to be re-evaluated.
  • If an antibiotic was prescribed take it as directed and in its entirety.  There is a risk of developing antibiotic resistance when taken incompletely.  Note: Antibiotics may interfere with oral contraceptives, decreasing their efficacy. 

Please do not hesitate to call our office with any questions or concerns.  A doctor is on-call during all weekends and available to answer calls between 9am-9pm.


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