Oral Surgery: Post Operative Instructions

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Normal oozing may occur for up to 24 hours following surgery and is controlled by firm biting pressure on several gauze pads placed over the tooth socket. Maintain pressure on the socket for 30 minutes after surgery and then replace gauze pads if necessary for further 30-minute intervals if necessary. Smoking, drinking with a straw and physical activity may cause bleeding; avoid them for 24 hours after surgery. Oozing is normal for up to 24 hours. If bleeding becomes brisk and fills your mouth quickly, contact Dr. Linton or Dr. Hawthorne.


Swelling and sometimes bruising is common after surgery, normally reaching a maximum 48 hours after surgery and usually lasts 4-6 days. To keep this to a minimum, apply ice packs 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for the first 12 hours after your surgery. Keeping your head elevated also helps. The swelling should dissipate within 7-10 days; the application of warm compresses, starting the second day, should expedite its resolution.


Some discomfort is normal after surgery; this tends to be the worst in the first 6 to 8 hours following surgery. It can be controlled, but not eliminated by taking the pain medication prescribed. Never take pain medication on an empty stomach. Follow the instructions given for any pain medication. If itching or a rash develops, stop taking all medications and contact your dentist. If the pain becomes worse after the fourth day, arrange for an appointment.

Muscle Soreness

Difficulty in opening the jaw and muscle stiffness are common after some extractions, particularly wisdom teeth. This is normal and will improve in 5- 10 days. Chewing gum at intervals and moist heat after 48 hours will help muscle soreness.

Mouth Care

Brush and floss as usual, avoiding the surgical site for the rest of the day. Beginning the following day, rinse with salt water (one teaspoon of salt mixed with warm water) for 30-second intervals at least five times a day; continue for a week. Two days following surgery brush the area: run your toothbrush under hot water to soften the bristles and without toothpaste, lightly cleanse the area. Smoking is not advised postoperatively for a minimum of one week. Nicotine in any form interferes with the healing process and increases the incidence of infection, dry socket and other complications.


It is important to maintain good nutritional diet after surgery. Eat a lukewarm, soft diet the day of surgery. Drink as much fluid as you can for three days.


If after the fourth day swelling increases, along with a fever or a foul taste, contact us.

Dry Socket

A dry socket is when part of the blood clot either dissolves or falls out of the surgical site. This is not a serious complication, but is often a painful one. A symptom of a dry socket is pain that is increasing several days after the extraction. If this is the case please contact us as some medication may need to be placed into the site to improve comfort as the healing progresses.

Thank you and if there are any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us.

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