Post operative instructions for Oral Surgery

Swelling, discomfort, stiffness and a small amount of bleeding following oral surgery is normal and expected.   By following these instructions all of these can be kept to a minimum.

1. Avoid smoking for at least 48 hours post-operatively. Smoking will promote bleeding and interfere with healing.

2. Avoid hot liquids or hot foods for 24 hours post-operatively. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids.

3. Do not spit or suck through a straw. This will promote bleeding and may dislodge the blood clot causing a dry socket. Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth until the day after surgery. This is to insure the formation of a healing blood clot, which is essential to proper wound healing.

4. Do not touch or disturb the area where the work was done with your tongue, fingers or any sharp instruments (ie. eating utensils). This may result in irritation, infection or bleeding. For the first day or two limit your diet to soft foods. Ice cream or yogurt may be the most comfortable for the first day. Be sure to chew on the opposite side for 24 hours.

5. Starting the day after surgery, brush and rinse your mouth.   Be gentle but thorough; cleanliness is essential to proper healing. To rinse, it is recommended to dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of water; then rinse four times daily.

6. Bleeding is normal following a surgical procedure. Prior to leaving the dental office, a gauze pad will be placed over the extraction site and you will be advised to maintain firm biting pressure for a recommended period of time (usually less than one hour). It is normal for oozing to continue in the saliva for a short period of time following removal of the gauze pad because it takes 18 – 24 hours for the blood clot to mature in the extraction socket. Should bleeding recur, apply firm pressure with the cotton gauze you have been given, for approximately 15 minutes and repeat as needed.   Alternatively, a tea bag soaked in cold water can be folded in half and bitten on (tea contains Tannic Acid which is a styptic, and may help reduce bleeding). Should bleeding be excessive or prolonged, or something does not seem normal, do not hesitate to call your dentist.

7. Some discomfort is normal after the surgery. Analgesic medications should be taken only as prescribed.   Should the medication be inadequate, call your dentist.

8. To prevent swelling, place ice packs to the area for 20 minutes and then remove for 20 minutes, repeat for 2 hours.