Postoperative Instructions


Most postsurgical discomfort is improving by the third day. If pain increases on the fourth day or later, please contact us.

Please take recommended postop pain medications whether over-the-counter or prescription only as directed. Examples of over the counter medication that may have been discussed with you include ibuprofen (also called Motrin or Advil) or acetaminophen (also called Tylenol). Start with pain relievers BEFORE your anesthesia wears off (30-60 minutes after your appointment), ONLY if you did not start already at the office.

Only if discussed with you, one postop regimen would be to start with 600mg ibuprofen every 6 hours, taking acetaminophen for breakthrough pain.

Avoid drinking or driving when taking prescription pain pills.


After your procedure, keep biting on the gauze for 30 minutes. Replace this gauze in 30 minutes with a fresh folded moist gauze. Gauze will be given to you. The gauze may be stained with blood when you remove it. This is not due to active bleeding yet rather the wicking effect of the gauze. However, if you are still experiencing active bleeding, you may need to reposition the gauze so that more pressure is on the area. Slight oozing during the initial phase may occur.

However, if you experience frank bleeding in the first 24-48 hours following your procedure, please follow the above instructions. If this does not help, please call us.


Postoperative swelling peaks 48-72 hours after a procedure, and then usually declines over the next week. Ice is most effective to help decrease swelling throughout the first day when placed 20 minutes over the surgical area, then removed from the site for 20 minutes (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, etc.).

Do not place ice directly on your cheek. Do not fall asleep with ice on your face.


Avoid chewing until your anesthetic wears off or you may inadvertently bite yourself. Avoid chewing on the surgical side during the initial healing phase. Avoid sharp/rough foods for the first week (e.g. chips, crackers, toast, nuts, popcorn, seeds, pizza crust, etc.). Avoid thermally hot foods (coffee, tea, hot soup). Most people find cool (e.g. yogurt, ice cream) foods soothing and soft foods best.

Oral hygiene care

Do not brush or floss in the direct surgical area until directed to do so, and proper care has been demonstrated. Do not brush or floss any of your teeth for the first 24 hours. After the first 24 hours, you may resume normal brushing and flossing of the teeth not affected by your surgical procedure.


If you were prescribed an oral rinse (Peridex or Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.12%), please begin using this the day after your procedure, twice a day as directed (ideally 12 hours apart). Otherwise, the day after the procedure, you may do warm salt water rinses up to 4 times per day.

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, swish around in your mouth and let it drool out (no spitting). Rinses are usually used until the sutures are removed and soft tissue healing is adequate.

Spitting & Sucking

Do not forcefully spit or suck (e.g. through a straw) during the first week. This may dislodge the clot and/or important materials and may cause bleeding to start again.

Periodontal Packing

If this was placed (looks like bubble gum) it will be removed at your one-week postop visit. Please note that it takes a few hours for this material to completely harden, during which time, it should not be disturbed. If it falls off before your first postop visit, do not be alarmed.


If 4-5 days or later following your procedure you develop swelling, fever, a bad taste in your mouth, or pain not alleviated by the recommended pain medication, you may have developed a postoperative infection. If you suspect this, please give us a call.


Take all your regular medications unless directed to do otherwise.


Minor bruising after surgery is a normal response and is no cause for alarm. It will improve in 7-14 days.


It is highly recommended that you NOT smoke during the postoperative period. Smoking may significantly hinder your healing and the final result. It may also increase your risk of a postoperative infection.


If non-dissolving or slowly dissolving stitches (sutures) were placed then these will normally be removed at either your one or two-week postop visit. If dissolving sutures were placed, these will normally fall out within the first 7-14 days. It is no problem if you swallow these. Never pull at loose stitches.


Some jaw muscle stiffness is common, especially after longer procedures. This is normal and will improve in 7-14 days. Moist heat and ibuprofen (if this is not contraindicated with your current health status) will help relieve some of the symptoms.


You may follow your regular activities, yet please avoid excessive exertion. Avoid heavy lifting or excessive talking. Avoid unnecessary “checking” of your surgical site, especially if it involves pulling pack your lip(s) or cheeks.


If you experience numbness in your mouth that lasts beyond the length of the local anesthetic, and it is still present 24 hours later, please contact us.

If there are any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please contact us at 519-944-2442.