Your Guide to Post-Operative Instructions

Physical Activity

After an oral surgery procedure, please don’t partake in any strenuous activity for a few days. Immediately after surgery, we advise that you relax at home for the rest of the day.


Please take any medications that we prescribe to you as instructed. If you choose not to, please be advised that it can affect the healing process and overall success of your procedure. If you experience any adverse reactions to your medications, such as nausea, itching, swelling, or any allergic symptoms, please discontinue all medications and contact our office immediately.

NOTE: It is very important that you do not consume alcohol while taking your medications. Additionally, driving or operating dangerous equipment while taking narcotics (e.g. Vicodin® or Tylenol #3®) can be very dangerous. Medications should generally not be taken on an empty stomach.


You can experience some discomfort when the numbness from the anesthetic wears off. To avoid this discomfort, we recommend you take the first dose of the prescribed anti-inflammatory pain medication while the surgical site still feels numb. Usually this is done at our office after the procedure.


While bleeding may be possible after your surgery in completely, it should be minimal. Additionally, there may be a pink tinge to your saliva for several hours. Bright red bleeding is not to be expected and is not usually a normal symptom after surgery. If you do experience bleeding, apply a moistened tea bag (not herbal tea) to the surgical area with for 15 minutes; let rest for 15 minutes, then repeat for a second time only. It is very important that you contact our office immediately if you experience any heavy bleeding.


Immediately following your oral surgery, you may experience some swelling. To keep this to a minimum, apply an ice bag wrapped in a towel to the outside of the face, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, for a period of 4 hours. We also suggest that you practice gentle rinsing with cold liquids. It’s very important that you avoid using a straw, as suction can cause bleeding. For any residual swelling after the first 48 hours, heat is encouraged to increase circulation and healing. You can apply this with a hot water bottle or heating pad. If your swelling becomes progressively worse after 2-3 days, please call our office immediately.


Sutures, or stitches, are placed to hold the gum tissues in the correct position for optimum healing. If stitches were placed during your procedure, your doctor will want you to return once sufficient healing has occurred to remove them. It is very important that you do not disturb the stitches in any manner because this can impair proper healing. Please contact our office immediately if you notice that any of your stitches have come out or come loose.

Oral Hygiene

You can continue your oral hygiene routine in the non-operated areas of your mouth with daily brushing and flossing. However, please be careful to not disrupt the healing areas. You may rinse gently with a mouth wash, like Listerine®, or a simple salt water solution. Once your sutures have been removed, you may lightly clean the teeth in the operated area using an extra soft toothbrush.


Vigorous rinsing should be avoided for the first 12-24 hours following surgery. If you are experiencing slight bleeding, hold cold water in your mouth in the first 12-24 hours. 24 hours after surgery, you should start warm (not hot) salt water rinses 3-4 times daily for the week after surgery. To create your salt water rinse, mix together a 1/2 tsp. salt in a tall glass of water.


You should be able to maintain a relatively normal diet throughout the course of healing and it’s important you not try any new diets post-surgery. For the first few days, you can eat nutritional supplements such as Boost® or Ensure® or soft foods (i.e. blended foods, mashed potatoes, yogurt, ice cream, soups, eggs, fish, pasta, Jell-O, pudding, oatmeal, etc.). It may be necessary to only consume liquids for the first day, if you find chewing to be uncomfortable. We recommend that you chew on the side opposite the surgical site and please avoid any hard or gritty foods such as peanuts, popcorn, chips or hard bread for 3-4 days after surgery. Also, it is best to avoid spicy or heavily seasoned foods for the initial 24 hours after surgery.


You should not consume alcohol until your sutures have been removed. We also advise that you should only minimally drink alcohol for several weeks after suture removal to promote further healing. It’s also very important you avoid drinking alcohol while still taking certain pain medications.


Oral surgery healing results are significantly worse for smokers than non-smokers. If you do choose to smoke, it’s important that you discontinue use until after your sutures have been removed to promote optimum success of your procedure. If you can’t quite completely, please refrain from smoking for the first 24-48 hours after oral surgery.