Post Operative Instructions

Care of the mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing. SWELLING, DISCOMFORT AND RESTRICTED JAW FUNCTION ARE EXPECTED and so need not cause alarm.  These may be minimized by the following instructions. 

  • HEMORRHAGE CONTROL: Replace the gauze pack upon arriving home. Slight bleeding is expected.  If bleeding continues, place moistened, folded gauze directly on the tissue over the surgery site and apply CONSTANT PRESSURE.  Assume a semi-upright bed position, using two pillows. Spitting causes bleeding by drawing at the origin.  AVOID SPITTING.
  • PAIN CONTROL: If you have been given a prescription, have it filled and take as directed on the package. If you develop hives or rash, discontinue all medication, and immediately contact this office.  DO NOT DRIVE, OPERATE EQUIPMENT OR DO ANY OTHER ACTIVITY THAT COULD CAUSE HARM TO YOU OR OTHERS AFTER TAKING PAIN MEDICATION.  Tylenol or Advil may be taken as an alternative to prescription drugs if preferred. 
  • SWELLING CONTROL: Apply an ice pack to the jaw immediately upon your return home, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Do this for 12 hours. The day after surgery, ice applied to the jaw may increase comfort.  Three days after surgery, moist heat may help relieve stiffness in the jaw. 
  • DIET: A liquid diet is wise the day of surgery unless your procedure was minor, then a soft diet is recommended until you are comfortable. Increase your fluid intake.  The canned dietary supplements may be very helpful in maintaining your diet.  Resume your normal diet when possible. Do not use straws for a week.
  • NAUSEA: A small amount of iced tea or carbonated drink every hour, for 5 or 6 hours will usually terminate nausea. Follow this with mild tea or clear soup, etc.  If nausea continues contact this office.
  • ORAL HYGIENE: Do not rinse the first day. The day following surgery, the mouth may be rinsed gently with warm water after each meal and at bedtime.  The teeth should be brushed but avoid the site of surgery for at least the first 2 days. 
  • AVOID FATIGUE: Go to bed early at night and get adequate rest during the day.


The removal of impacted wisdom teeth and other surgical procedures may be quite involved and difficult. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal.

  • The area operated on will usually swell.
  • The swollen area may become quite large and increase in size for 2-3 days.
  • Stiffness of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth.
  • 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 or cold cream.
  • There will be an opening where the tooth was removed. This area should be rinsed following meals with warm water or diluted mouthwash starting the day after.  This space will gradually fill in with new tissue.
  • Bruising may occur on the outside of the face near the area of surgery. This occurrence is not unusual and will resolve within several days.
  • There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24-48 hours. If temperature continues, notify this office.
  • Suture (stitches) may be used to close the surgical wound. They will be removed at a subsequent office visit.  Some 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.