K&W Dental
top of page

Post-Operative Instructions Following Oral Surgery

Care of your mouth after surgery has an important effect on healing. Swelling, discomfort, and restricted jaw function are expected and should not cause alarm. These may be minimized by following the instructions below. Please read them carefully. It is strongly urged that they be followed.


Remove the gauze after 1 hour. Do not rinse, spit, use straws, smoke, or brush your teeth for 24 hours! Spitting or sucking causes bleeding to continue. Slight bleeding is expected for the first day. If bleeding is excessive, place a folded gauze pad or a moistened tea bag over the wound and bite firmly for 30 minutes at a time until bleeding as significantly decreased. Assume a semi-upright position using a couple of pillows when sleeping at night for the first 2-3 days.


Take your medications as directed on the package. If you develop hives or a rash, discontinue all medications and contact our office. Do not drive or operate mechanical equipment after taking prescription pain medication such as Vicodin or Norco or other types of narcotic pain medication.


Apply ice packs (15 mins on and 15 mins off) to the face that is directly next to the extraction site immediately upon returning home. Continue this on and off for 24–48 hours. Peak swelling should occur between the 3rd and 4th day after treatment and will diminish slowly thereafter.


A liquid or non-chew diet is recommended the day of surgery and the next day, and then soft foods high in vitamins and protein is recommended for the next several days such as yogurt, nutritional shakes, fish cooked very soft, soup, etc. Increase your fluid intake. For the first week, do not eat anything hot (temperature) or spicy.  Slightly warm or room temperature is recommended.  Gradually resume your normal diet after 2 weeks.


Do not take narcotic prescription pain medication on an empty stomach. Small sips of a carbonated drink will usually terminate nausea. Follow this with mild tea or clear soup, and then easily digestible foods like toast or Jell-O®. Avoid greasy foods and milk products. Over-the-counter Dramamine® can be taken to reduce the nausea. If nausea continues, contact our office.

Oral Hygiene

The mouth may be rinsed gently with a warm saltwater solution (½ teaspoon salt per 1/2 glass of lukewarm water) after each meal and at bedtime. If you have been prescribed a prescription mouthrinse (chlorhexidine), then use this in the morning and evening before bed and supplement with warm salt water rinse a couple times throughout the day as needed.  Do not use hydrogen peroxide. The rest of the teeth should be brushed, but avoid the site(s) of extraction/surgery.


Smoking can cause bleeding and delay healing. Smokers are advised not to smoke for a minimum of 3 days following surgery.


Avoid overexertion and get adequate rest. Avoiding sports, exercise, and strenuous activity for at least 2–3 days is generally recommended.

Dental Care

It is usually best to avoid routine or elective dental care (including orthodontic or hygiene visits) for approximately 2 weeks after surgery unless your doctor has advised otherwise.  

  • We know that you are anxious to see the results of your surgery, but please do not forcibly pull your lips or cheeks away to inspect the surgical site. This action could possibly tear your sutures or worse, cause an infection


Signs of infection include increased pain and swelling after 3 days, redness, warmth, drainage of pus, foul smells, and fever. If these occur, contact our office.

Post-Op Visits

If you have been given an appointment for post-operative care, please return to the office as scheduled. If you are experiencing problems or have questions, we can usually arrange a post-operative visit on short notice. Please note that there are no additional charges for post-operative care visits.

bottom of page