Oral Surgery Care

Oral Surgery Care Instructions


1. Pain in varying amounts is to be expected after oral surgery. Its severity usually depends on the extent of the surgery, but is also related to the patient’s pain tolerance. Take 600-800 MG of Advil or Ibuprofen (3-4 tablets) for pain relief as soon as you get home. For break-through pain you should take the prescribed medicine as instructed by your doctor. Do not take additional Tylenol as most of the prescriptions already contain Tylenol. However, Advil and your prescriptions can be taken together. DO NOT SMOKE FOR AT LEAST 1 WEEK after surgery; blowing hot smoke on surgical wounds can be extremely painful.

2. Swelling in modest amounts commonly develops after oral surgery; it may reach its peak in 24 to 72 hours after surgery and then should begin resolving. Elevate your head and place an ice bag over the affected area (30 minutes on and 30 minutes off) for the first 24 to 72 hours after surgery to help reduce the amount of swelling. Following 24 to 72 hours of therapy with ice, switch to moist heat 4 times daily for the next 2 to 6 days depending on your symptoms.

3. Bleeding should gradually decrease after you leave the office. Bite firmly on your gauze packs for at least one hour after surgery, then change every hour until the bleeding resolves. This may persist with slight oozing even overnight, but do not go to sleep (unattended) with gauze packs in place, and take gauze packs out to eat. DO NOT RINSE YOUR MOUTH THE DAY OF SURGERY. Spitting and the use of straws should be avoided the first 3 days after surgery. These things may dislodge blood clots and re-start bleeding or cause a dry socket. If bleeding persists after several hours, place gauze over the surgical areas and bite firmly for one hour; sit in a chair (do not lie down) and place an ice bag over the affected side of face. If bleeding persists, wrap a moistened tea bag in gauze and bite for one hour. Oozing may persist on and off for the next 2-3 days; this is normal and there is no need to pack the area at this time.

4. Mouth rinse: No mouth rinses for 24 hours after surgery. Then use a solution of warm salt water 4 times a day for 5 days. Place 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 2/3 cup of warm water and rinse gently for 2-3 minutes each time on the side of surgery. Vigorous rinsing is not desirable as it may disturb the blood clot.

5. Sutures may break down anywhere from the first day of surgery and may last up to 2 weeks. If your sutures come out early do not be alarmed.

6. Your diet should include only soft and/ or liquid foods for the first 24 hours (Gatorade, water, juice, tea, applesauce, mashed potatoes, lukewarm soup, pasta, yogurts, pudding and Jell-O). Fluids are especially important the first day (at least 2 quarts)to prevent dehydration. After the first 24 hours, eat whatever is most comfortable, avoiding nuts, potato chips, popcorn and such, which might get caught in the socket.

7. Good oral hygiene after oral surgery promotes more rapid healing. Starting the day after surgery, rinse the mouth with warm salt water. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush.

8. If any of the following occurs, call the office immediately:

  • Severe bleeding
  • High fever above 102 degrees
  • Rapidly expanding swelling with difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Persistent vomiting, especially after the first 24 hours

9. Pain medicine is prescribed at the time of surgery and cannot be called in by the on-call doctor after hours, as your chart is not available.

10. Remember all narcotics cause drowsiness, and you should not drive automobiles or operate dangerous machinery while taking these medications.

Sinus Precautions

Because of the close relationship between the upper back teeth and the sinus, a communication between the sinus and mouth sometimes results from surgery. If that complication has occurred in your case, it may heal slowly and with difficulty. Certain precautions will assist in healing and we ask that you faithfully follow these instructions:

1. Take prescriptions as directed.

2. Do not forcefully spit for two weeks.

3. Do not smoke for two weeks.

4. Do not use a straw for two weeks.

5. Do not forcefully blow your nose for at least two weeks, even though your sinus may feel “stuffy” or there may be some nasal drainage.

6. Try not to sneeze; it will cause undesired sinus pressure. If you must sneeze, keep your mouth open.

7. Eat only soft foods for several days, always trying to chew on the opposite side of your mouth.

8. Do not rinse vigorously for several days. Gentle salt water swishes may be used.

Slight bleeding from the nose is not uncommon for several days after surgery.

Please keep our office advised of any changes in your condition, especially if drainage or pain increases. It is important that you keep all future appointments until this complication has resolved