Post Operative Instructions

Common Post operative symptoms 

The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal.

  • You may have a slight earache – mostly with molar extractions.
  • A sore throat may develop.
  • Numbness about the corners of the mouth on the side from which the surgery was done may develop. This is most often a temporary condition which will usually correct itself.  It may remain anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Your other teeth may ache temporarily. This is called sympathetic pain and is a temporary condition.
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with a cream or ointment such as Vaseline. There will be an opening where the tooth was removed, and this space will gradually fill in with new tissue.
  • Bruising may occur on the outside of the face near the area of surgery and will resolve within several days.
  • There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24-48 hours. If temperature continues, notify our office.
  • Suture (stitches) may be used to close the surgical wound. Most sutures are dissolvable and may come out on their own.  Do not try to take the sutures out if this happens but let them come out on their own.  If the sutures are not dissolvable, they will be removed at a post operative visit. 

After surgery

The day of surgery, the focus is bleeding control & pain control.  Care of the mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing.  Swelling, discomfort and restricted jaw function are expected and need not cause alarm.  These may be minimized by the following instructions.


  • Take medications as directed on the prescription bottle
  • Begin taking pain medication prior to numbness wearing off to stay ahead of the pain
  • If Chlorohexidine/Peridex is prescribed, use as directed on the prescription for about a week after surgery. Start using the day after surgery.
  • Pain may increase again on day 3-4 after surgery and this is normal. If the pain medication is not controlling the pain, please contact the office.


  • We will provide a gauze pack for you to take home and use after surgery
  • Change gauze every 20-30 minutes until it’s light pink in color or a dime sized red spot
  • Lightly moisten the gauze with water before using
  • Once the gauze is light pink in color, you can discontinue use
  • Maintain firm pressure (not clenching) on the gauze to slow the bleeding
  • Remove the gauze to eat and drink and replace with new gauze after eating/drinking. Do not wait until bleeding has stopped to eat or drink, especially if taking pain medication for post op care.

Swelling/Jaw Soreness

  • Swelling is expected after surgery and may become quite large and increase in size
  • Day of surgery – apply an ice pack or frozen peas to the outside of the face of the surgical site for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours
  • Swelling may increase on day 3-4 after surgery. Use a warm compress and jaw massages to increase blood flow and healing. 
  • Stiffness of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth

Blood clot

  • If the blood clot is dislodged, a dry socket may occur
  • To prevent this, no vigorous rinsing, spitting or sucking for about a week after surgery to ensure the blood clot can form and not be dislodged
  • If given the irrigating syringe to irrigate the sockets, do not use until one week after surgery (see PO irrigation instructions for more information if a syringe is given after surgery)


  • Rest and recover day of surgery. Avoid napping for the first few hours and stay upright or propped up in bed until bleeding is controlled.
  • Refrain from any heavy lifting and exercise for at least the first day, if not longer.

Oral Hygiene

  • Refrain from all oral hygiene after surgery for the first day – no rinsing or brushing teeth
  • Resume normal oral hygiene the day after surgery. Brush teeth lightly, avoiding surgical sites
  • Starting the day after surgery, begin warm salt water rinses or diluted mouthwash after brushing your teeth
    • Gently move mouthwash around in your mouth by moving your head from side to side
    • Instead of spitting mouthwash or toothpaste out of your mouth, let it fall out naturally
  • Don’t use a water pik or electric toothbrush for at least a week after surgery


  • Start with clear liquids to ensure stomach is feeling okay after anesthesia (water, seven-up, ginger ale, apple juice, etc)
  • Eat colder, soft foods the first day and work back to a normal diet as you feel able (Jello, pudding, yogurt, ice cream, applesauce, smoothies (no berries), etc)
    • Once numbness has worn off, warm, soft foods are fine to eat (scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soft noodles, soup etc)
    • Drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks is fine, just avoid hot temperatures the first day.
    • Resume eating and drinking after surgery – there is no need to wait until the bleeding is stopped.
  • Avoid small, hard, crunchy foods that could get lodged in the socket (nuts, berries, seeds, chips, hard crust bread, etc)
  • Avoid straws for the first week after surgery
  • For nausea, drink a small amount of iced tea or carbonated drink every hour, for 5 or 6 hours. Follow this with mild tea or clear soup, etc.  If nausea continues contact this office.
  • Smokers are advised to refrain from smoking for at least one day prior to surgery and a week after surgery.