After having oral surgery, it is important to carefully follow any post-operative instructions from your dentist. Following these instructions can help speed healing and minimize the risk of complications, such as dry sockets, excessive swelling, or infection. There are some general instructions that apply to most oral surgery procedures. We will provide you with specific oral surgery aftercare instructions before your procedure to help you prepare for the recovery process.

Immediately after your procedure

You will likely experience some level of discomfort, swelling, and minor bleeding after having oral surgery. For the first hour or so, keep gentle, but firm pressure on the treated area by gently biting on damp gauze to encourage the formation of a clot. Don’t take it in and out a lot, as doing so will only make it bleed more. Avoid removing the gauze too early. Keep it in for at least 30-45 minutes to establish a good clot.

If significant bleeding persists after the first hour or two, you can try biting on a damp tea bag for 30-45 minutes.  Again, with constant, slight pressure.  Some patients have slight bleeding for up to 24 hours, depending on their prescription medications and whether they follow these instructions closely. Remember to keep swallowing and do not allow your saliva to pool in your mouth. This will make you feel like you have more blood in your mouth than you do.

Unless otherwise advised, continue taking your regularly scheduled medications. You should refrain from drinking alcohol for the first few days after your procedure, especially if you were prescribed pain medications or antibiotics. Also keep in mind that antibiotics can interfere with birth control pills.

  1. Use ice packs for the first 24 hours (5 minutes on, 5 minutes off while you are awake).
  2. IF prescribed, rinse with chlorhexidine gluconate (Peridex, Periogard) 3x/daily for 2 days before surgery and 3 days after surgery.
  3. Keep your head elevated for the first 24 hours. Elevate your head when you lie down (keep your head above your heart).
  4. Eat a light meal as soon as possible. Stick to soft, cool foods which do not require extensive chewing.
  5. Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco for at least 72 hours.
  6. Get lots of rest and limit physical activity for at least 3 days. Do not exercise and keep your BP and heartrate down.
  7. Do not do a lot of heavy lifting or bending over. Keep your head above your heart.
  8. Drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 glasses the first day).
  9. Do not use a straw for 1 week, or suck on anything like mints or candies, as this can cause an EXTREMELY painful dry socket. The sucking motion could either prevent a clot from forming or dislodge the clot you had.
  10. IF you were prescribed antibiotics, take them until they are finished.
  11. Many patients do not need pain medication the day after surgery. Only take pain medication if you have pain. We suggest taking Ibuprofen (800mgs every 4-6 hours) as it helps dental pain the best since it is an anti-inflammatory. We also suggest a combination of Ibuprofen and Tylenol in lieu of narcotic pain meds. Take 600mgs of Ibuprofen with 500 mgs of Tylenol every 4-6 hours. With severe pain, you would take 800 mgs of Ibuprofen and 1000 mgs of Tylenol every 4-6 hours.
  12. IF prescribed prescription pain meds, you can take them as prescribed if needed but do not take any additional Tylenol with the prescription pain meds as the prescription pain medication has Tylenol in it. More info will be given to you regarding any medication we send electronically to your pharmacy.
  13. If you are taking pain meds, be sure to eat something every 3-5 hours to prevent getting nauseous from the medications.
  14. Do not drive if you are not familiar with how prescription pain medication makes you feel.
  15. Take your daily medications as prescribed by your physician. IF you were told to not take blood thinner, resume blood thinners the day after surgery or as directed by your physician.

If you were sedated:

It sometimes takes 24-48 hours for the medications to fully exit your bloodstream, so we strongly suggest that you get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. You may feel slightly confused, drowsy, dizzy, or nauseous for the first few hours after sedation. Nausea generally improves within a few hours.

Wait to eat until you feel hungry and try sipping small amounts of clear liquid to prevent dehydration. When you do eat, avoid heavy or greasy foods and instead, have something light and nutritious. And soft! Like Applesauce, scrambled eggs, pasta, fish, cooked beans, oatmeal, rice, soups (lukewarm, not hot), mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, bean burritos, soft steamed vegetables, etc.

If you were sedated, DO NOT…

  1. Drive/Ride a bicycle/Operating heavy equipment.
  2. Work around machinery, sharp objects, or cooking.
  3. Be responsible for other people in your care.
  4. Work at unsafe heights.

Keep Your Mouth Clean

It is crucial after oral surgery to follow a proper hygiene routine. Maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent an infection from developing. In some cases, we may advise you to avoid brushing or flossing around the immediate treatment area for a set period after your procedure. You can use a prescription mouthwash or a saltwater rinse to remove food particles until you can brush normally again.

Tooth Extractions

It’s important for a blood clot to form in the tooth socket to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Gently bite on a wet gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the procedure. After the blood clot forms it is important not to dislodge it. DO NOT use a straw.  This can dislodge the clot and promote a dry socket (extremely painful)

DO NOT smoke. It compromises the blood supply and can promote a dry socket.

DO NOT rinse vigorously for the first 48hours. It can dislodge the clot and can promote a dry socket. (Mild swishing with Chlorhexidine/Peridex or saltwater is ok).

DO NOT consume or drink HOT liquids. Lukewarm is ok.

DO NOT consume alcohol It can interrupt the clotting process and lead to a dry socket. In addition to that, it can also hinder your body’s natural healing process.

DO NOT spit. Just swallow normally. Spitting can dislodge the clot and promote a dry socket.

DO NOT drink carbonated beverages. They can dissolve the clot and promote a dry socket.

DO NOT brush directly on the surgical site or the adjacent surfaces of the teeth directly next to it for 72 hours. These activities may dissolve or dislodge the clot and hinder the healing.

If bleeding continues, gently bite on a moistened black tea bag for 30-45 minutes. The tannic acid in the black tea helps to form a clot by contracting blood vessels.

Avoid hot liquids, exercise, and keep your head elevated for the first 24 hours. (Head above your heart at all times).

Notify us if bleeding persists or discomfort increases after three or four days. You should also let us know if you continue to experience numbness after the first day. Severe throbbing pain in the area or persistent bad breath may signal a serious condition known as dry socket and require a trip to our office for additional treatment.

If You Have Immediate Dentures:

Do not remove the immediate denture unless the bleeding is severe. Expect some oozing around the side of the denture.

Do not remove it for 3 days. Rinse with saltwater (1 tsp salt to 1 c water) 3x/day. Keep mouth and prosthesis clean.

Begin removing the denture on day 3 to clean it and your mouth.

Sleep with the denture in for 1 week (after removing it daily for cleaning)

Dental Implants

Avoid vigorous rinsing, spitting, or touching the site on the day of surgery. Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a dampened gauze pad placed directly on the site for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues profusely, call us for further instructions.

Some swelling may commence after the surgery. To minimize swelling, use ice on the area 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off, continuously for the first 24 hours, while you’re awake.

If numbness persists after the first day, notify your dentist. You should also contact the office if bleeding persists, or discomfort increases after three days. If you have a restoration on your implant and the restoration feels loose, let us know right away.

After dental implant placement surgery, you will likely experience swelling and bruising, as well as sensitivity to cold. These symptoms should resolve on their own within a few days.

During the initial healing period, you should avoid:

  1. Ice, ice cream, cold drinks, and solids, if they are causing discomfort.
  2. Sticky or hard foods.
  3. Hot foods, including soups, coffee, tea, etc. (lukewarm is OK).
  4. Spicy foods (heavy spices, peppers) or acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus).
  5. Applying pressure to the implant with your tongue or fingers.

Bone Grafting

After a bone graft procedure, keep in mind that the grafting material can move during the healing period. They are tiny granules of bone, and if disrupted and manipulated, can seep out of the sutures. Once the sutures have healed, the risk of leakage is no longer an issue.

You should not rinse or spit aggressively for at least seven days. Additionally, avoid pressing on the treatment area with your tongue or fingers. Pulling or lifting your lip to look at your sutures can put unnecessary pressure on the area and tear the stitches, so be gentle with the area until the sutures dissolve or your dentist removes them.

You may feel small granules around the area for the first several days. This sensation is no cause for alarm. However, if a suture falls out within the first three days or you feel an extensive number of granules, notify us immediately. Sometimes we place a membrane in the area which is white in color and will stay in place near the site.

Bone grafts can cause discomfort for a few days after surgery. The first three days are usually the worst from a pain and swelling standpoint. Persistent discomfort, swelling, or bleeding after the first week can all indicate a complication. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding post op healing.

Sinus Lifts

Minor bleeding from your nose is not uncommon after a sinus lift and should pass quickly. You may also notice small granules in your mouth for the first few days. This is normal. However, if you feel them in your nose, notify us right away.

A sinus lift is a very delicate procedure. We may recommend you use antihistamines or a decongestant to alleviate pressure in the area during healing. For the first two weeks, do not blow your nose or sniff forcefully. You should also avoid going swimming or sitting in a hot tub.

In addition, you should:

  1. Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
  2. Sneeze with your mouth open to minimize pressure on the sinus area.
  3. Avoid using a straw or spitting forcefully.
  4. Take all medications as directed, including nasal spray.
  5. Avoid pulling or lifting your lip to look at sutures.

We will give you detailed preop and post op information prior to surgery.

Post-operative Medication Instructions:

You may have some discomfort following your oral surgery. It can be controlled but not eliminated by following these instructions:

  1. (Non-narcotic protocol:) If you can take Ibuprofen/Tylenol, take 800 mgs of Ibuprofen and 500 mgs of Tylenol every 4-6 hours for the first 48 hours. With severe pain you may take 800 mgs of Ibuprofen and 1000 mgs of Tylenol every 4-6 hours. DO NOT use more than 4000 mg of Tylenol in one day or more than 1000 mg every 6 hours. It is important to keep a baseline level of pain medicine in your system and not wait for the pain to start before taking pain medication.
  2. If you are experiencing a lot of discomfort even though you are taking the Ibuprofen, you may take the prescription pain medication in conjunction with 800 mg Ibuprofen. If you are taking Tylenol with Ibuprofen and discomfort is not under control, STOP taking the Tylenol and only take the prescription medication in addition to Ibuprofen. You can take a prescription pain pill with Ibuprofen. Just do not take any additional Tylenol with the prescription pain pill as the prescription pain pill has Tylenol in it.  When the discomfort level decreases you may stop the prescription medication altogether and resume the Ibuprofen and Tylenol. In our experience, Ibuprofen and Tylenol help with dental pain much better than narcotic prescription pain meds so be sure to take them first.

Some drug clarifications on *over-the-counter pain relievers:

*Ibuprofen = Advil, Nuprin, Motrin, Medipren, Generic lbuprofen, etc.

*Tylenol – Acetaminophen

  1. If any of the medications disagree with you stop taking the medication immediately and call the office. Narcotic prescription pain meds often cause itching and nausea. Should you develop a rash, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, stop taking medication immediately and contact your pharmacy and then our office. If you have severe breathing issues, call 911.

When to Contact Us

In general, you should contact our office if you feel something is not right. Persistent discomfort, swelling, or bleeding can all indicate a complication. If you develop a fever, you may have an infection that requires additional care. We will provide more specific instructions on what to do after your procedure. Even if the issue is not cause for concern, we want to be able to help assist you in feeling better so please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns, anytime. As always, Staci is available 24/7 to help with any issues, urgent or otherwise. You can text or call her at 817-966-9982 or send her an email at

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We are committed to providing the highest quality compassionate care, while keeping you as comfortable as possible.