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After Oral Surgery Appointments

Post-operative care is very important to avoid unnecessary pain and complications. Please follow instructions carefully for proper healing:

  • Leave the gauze over the extraction site for 30 minutes with firm pressure.
  • Do not rinse mouth today. Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided to prevent bleeding. Tomorrow, rinse mouth gently every 3-4 hours (especially after meals). Use saltwater rinse consisting of 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water, continue for several days.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking will delay the healing of the extraction site and facilitate the formation of a dry socket.
  • Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed.
  • A dry socket will occur if a clot is unable to form or if it becomes dislodged. Extreme pain can occur and it is necessary to be seen at the office for a medicated dressing to be placed. Avoid these by following these guidelines: Do not smoke, do not use a straw, do not forcefully spit, do not eat anything with very small pieces that may become lodged in an extraction site.
  • Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable. Reduce physical activity for 2-3 days to help minimize swelling.
  • A light diet is advisable during the first 24 hours. Avoid hot foods until all bleeding stops. Cold foods often can soothe an uncomfortable area

What to Expect

  • Pain, bleeding, bruising and swelling are all normal after oral surgery, see below for more details.
  • Small sharp bone fragments may work up through the gums during the healing process. These are not roots. If the bone fragments become bothersome please call our office to make an appointment for simple removal.
  • If numbness of the lip, chin, or tongue occurs post-operatively there is no cause for alarm. This is usually temporary. If this does occur, call our office.
  • If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment such as Vaseline.
  • Sore throats and pain when swallowing are not uncommon. The muscles get swollen. The normal act of swallowing can then become painful. This will subside in two to three days.
  • Stiffness of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a few days following surgery. This is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.

A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva may occur. Bleeding may be controlled by placing a wet gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary for the next 2 to 3 hours. Leave the gauze out at this point if bleeding has reduced to a small amount.

If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps the body form a clot. Repeat as necessary. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.


Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face may occur after oral surgery. Swelling may occur the day following surgery and will increase until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling will be minimized by the use of ice packs for the first 48 hours. After 48 hours, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.


In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed the removal of the discoloration.


Take any pain medication prescribed as directed. Prescribed pain medicine may make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages.


Antibiotics may be given to help prevent infection. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, it is important to completely finish all of the medication; however, discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction and call our office.


Sutures are placed in the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged. This is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures will dissolve on their own.

Immediate Dentures

If dentures were delivered the day of surgery, leave them in for the first 24 hours. It is okay to remove the dentures to clean and give your mouth a short rest. Do not remove dentures for an extended period as swelling may prevent you from replacing the denture.

You should see your dentist the first few weeks after surgery to check for sore spots, several adjustments will likely be needed as the areas are healing. If you continue to experience problems with denture retention 2-3 months after your surgery, you may want to consider having your denture relined and you can call our office to set this up.

Quality Family Dental Care Since 1969