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Post-Operative Instructions: General


The First 24 Hours

You may have received intravenous drugs to make your surgical procedure more comfortable for you. Although the major effects of these drugs wear off rapidly, there may be residual effects that can alter your judgment and physical abilities. To ensure your post-anesthesia treatment will be uneventful, please follow these instructions:

  • You are to go directly home after your surgery and rest quietly for the remainder of the day. The residual effect of your intravenous medications may cause you to be drowsy. Your pain medications (pills issued for post-operative pain reduction) may also cause nausea, especially if taken on an empty stomach. The combined effect may make you feel lightheaded or dizzy, so do not use stairs at home, etc., without assistance for the remainder of the day.
  • Use a cold compress to reduce swelling (for the first 48 hours after surgery). Alternate sides every 20 minutes.
  • A gentle flow of oxygen was used during your surgery, and for some patients this may “dry” the nasal mucosa. This can cause sneezing episodes or a “runny” nose that should subside within 12 hours.
  • Drink milk or eat a soft, nutritious meal prior to taking pain medications. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • Do not drive motor vehicles or operate machinery for 24 hours or while taking narcotic medications.
  • Do not schedule major decisions while taking narcotic medications.

It’s important that a blood clot forms over the extraction site to stop the bleeding, reduce pain, and speed healing. If you were given gauze from our clinic, change it every 30-40 minutes as needed for bleeding. Remember, some oozing of blood and saliva can be expected for up to 48 hours following the procedure.

After The First 24 Hours

  • After 24 hours, some patients will most likely have swelling, this typically peaks 48–72 hours post-surgery. Bruising, discomfort, limitation in opening or closing of the mouth, pain in the jaw and/or near the ear(s), a sore throat, and even a runny nose are all common.
  • Use a moist warm compress starting 48 hours after surgery. Alternate sides every 20 minutes.
  • You may begin to eat normally as long as it is comfortable. After meals and at bedtime, you may start rinsing your mouth gently with warm salt water (½ teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz glass of water).
  • Resume brushing and flossing, but clean gently around the site for about a week.
  • Continue taking medications as directed on the bottle.

What To Avoid

  • Avoid spitting or using straws for the first 24 hours. The suction can increase the risk of excessive bleeding and dry socket. If you had your wisdom teeth removed, please continue this instruction for 5 days post-surgery.
  • Avoid strenuous activity. Raising your heart rate or blood pressure can increase your risk of excess bleeding. In some cases, we may request that you avoid physical activities for 48–72 hours following your procedure.
  • Avoid smoking or E-cigarettes. Whenever tobacco/nicotine products are used, they may greatly decrease the chances of proper healing. Therefore, we suggest avoiding smoking for at least the first 72 hours following surgery.
  • Avoid blowing your nose. If any upper back teeth were removed or if you’ve had a sinus augmentation, avoid blowing your nose for 1 week following surgery. If you develop a cold with congestion, please call our office for further instructions.

Important Information Regarding:


If you were prescribed antibiotics, you must finish all the medication. Follow the instructions written on the bottle.

Irrigation Syringe

If you were given an irrigation syringe, DO NOT use it until 5 days after your procedure. After the fifth day of your surgery, you may use warm salt water to irrigate the socket(s). Continue using the syringe until the socket(s) are fully healed and closed. (This may be several weeks.) The syringe MUST be placed inside the socket in order to irrigate debris and bacteria. Do NOT use an irrigation syringe if a bone graft or dental implant was placed.


If bleeding persists, try placing a tea bag on the extraction site and bite down as if it were gauze for approximately 1 hour.


If you develop a fever of 101.5 degrees F or higher, please notify our office ASAP.

Guidelines for the Following:


Some sutures are dissolvable, while others will need to be removed at your follow-up appointment. If the dissolvable sutures (yellow/gold in color) fall out or dissipate as soon as the first day of surgery, it’s OK. Do not be alarmed, and there is no need to come in for replacement. It may take up to 10 days for this type of suture to dissolve.

If you were given the non-dissolvable sutures (white in color), a follow-up appointment will need to be scheduled in approximately 3–4 weeks for removal.

If you had sutures placed on your skin (due to a biopsy or facial cosmetic procedure), a follow-up appointment will need to be scheduled between 5 and 7 days for removal.


In some cases, your surgeon will place a protective barrier over the site where bone grafting material was placed. This barrier will be removed at your follow-up appointment. If the barrier becomes bothersome or falls off, please do not be alarmed. Please call one of our clinics for further instruction.

Dental Implants

Post-operative implant care takes time and patience. It is best to leave the area alone for the first week after placement. Please stick to softer foods or chewing in a different area for the duration of your healing period (3–4 months).

*If you use an ultrasonic toothbrush, turn it off when brushing over the implant. To help avoid failure, do not bite directly on the implant.

Bone Grafting

If a bone graft was placed during surgery, DO NOT use an irrigation syringe.

Dentures & Stents

When an immediate denture or a stent is placed at the time of surgery, it serves as a bandage for the first 24 hours. DO NOT take the denture out until you see your dentist the day after surgery. At that visit your dentist will take the denture out to make appropriate adjustments.


If you were prescribed medications by our office, please follow instructions written on the bottle(s). It is VERY IMPORTANT that you consult one of our surgeons prior to surgery if you are taking prescribed medications for any medical condition(s). This will determine any special instructions you may need to follow with the medications we prescribe.

If you develop a minor reaction to medication such as a rash, itching, or swelling around the eyes and face (not associated with the surgery) you should contact our office. If you experience a major reaction, such as swelling of the throat or difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Post-Operative Numbness

Local anesthesia is administered during surgery and typically lasts a few hours after the procedure. You may be numb in the following areas; lips, tongue, teeth, cheeks, and gums. If the numbness doesn’t wear off, please notify our office. Following your surgical procedure, and until the sensation returns, be careful concerning hot drinks that may burn the tissues; chewing your lips, tongue, or cheeks; and eating utensils or other sharp objects that may cause damage. Parents need to observe children during this time until sensation returns to ensure trauma does not occur.

We Are Here To Help

Please contact our office if you have any questions or issues with these instructions.

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