Post-Op Instructions

A follow-up appointment may be necessary to remove sutures or for a brief check of the surgical site.

Call us if you experience:

  • uncontrollable pain
  • excessive or severe bleeding
  • fever
  • excessive warm swelling a few days after surgery
  • adverse reactions to medications, such as rash, itching, or breathing problems

Avoid Contact with the Area

For the first few days after your operation – especially in the first 24 hours – it is important to allow a clot to form over the extraction site to allow the healing process to begin. Avoid things like smoking, drinking through a straw, and swishing liquid in your mouth, which can cause the clot to become dislodged. Be sure to keep sharp objects (e.g. toothpicks, crunchy food, forks) away from the wound. Chew on the opposite side of your mouth for 24 hours.

Bleeding

After your operation, you may have a gauze pad over the extraction site to control bleeding. Be sure to keep a slight pressure on the gauze for at least 30 minutes. During those 30 minutes, do not change the gauze. The wound needs that time to begin forming a clot. You may remove the gauze after 30 minutes. If you still feel the wound bleeding, you may use another gauze pad or bite down on a tea bag for another 30 minutes. Your saliva may be bright red for the rest of the day. This is caused by small amounts of blood in your saliva, which is normal.

Smoking

Avoid smoking after your operation. The chemicals from cigarette smoke significantly reduce the healing process and success of the surgery. Inhaling cigarettes can also cause the clot to become dislodged and put you at risk for developing dry socket.

Pain

You may experience some discomfort after the extraction, which is normal. You can take a non-aspirin pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil every 3 to 4 hours to minimize the discomfort. You can take it before the anesthesia wears off. If you are prescribed pain medicine, use as directed. Do not exceed the dose on the label. You may take the medication with food or milk to reduce stomach discomfort. Do not drink alcohol while you're on pain medication, and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.

Nausea

Nausea is often the result of taking pain medication on an empty stomach. To avoid this, eat soft food before taking your medicine and take the pill with a large glass of water.

Swelling

If you experience swelling, you can place an ice pack over the area for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pack for 15 minutes, and repeat as needed for the first 24 hours after surgery.

Numbness

You will experience numbness from the local anesthesic for several hours after the surgery. Avoid eating and biting, chewing, pinching, or scratching the area. Occasionally, extractions may cause residual numbness or tingling for six weeks or more.

Brushing

Avoid brushing your teeth for 8 hours after the extraction. After 8 hours you may brush gently, but be sure the avoid the extraction site for 3 days.

Rinsing

Do not rinse your mouth or swish anything in your mouth for 24 hours after surgery. Rinsing and swishing can disturb the clot and cause bleeding and possibly dry socket. After 24 hours, you may do a gentle rinse with a saltwater solution (a mixture of ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda, and 8 oz warm water). Do not use commercial mouthrinses.

Diet

For the first 48 hours after surgery, you'll want to eat soft foods. Be sure to maintain a balanced diet and avoid alcohol during this time. As soon as you can after the first 2 days, return to your regular diet. Make sure you drink plenty of water.

Activity

Be sure to rest and avoid strenuous activity for the rest of the day after your surgery. Keeping your blood pressure low will help reduce bleeding and aid in the healing process.

Antibiotics

If you were prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take them as directed until they are completely gone

*Note: Antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Be sure to use alternative birth control methods for two months after taking antibiotics.

Sinus

If your sinuses were involved in the operation, avoid blowing your nose or playing a wind musical instrument for a week. Your doctor may recommend decongestant medication.

Rinsing

Do not rinse your mouth or swish anything in your mouth for 24 hours after surgery. Rinsing and swishing can disturb the clot and cause bleeding and possibly dry socket. After 24 hours, you may do a gentle rinse with a saltwater solution (a mixture of ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda, and 8 oz warm water). Do not use commercial mouthrinses.

Following the above instructions will help promote a comfortable and successful healing process. Failure to follow these instructions can result in significant discomfort and may affect the healing of the extraction site.

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