Basic After Extraction Post Ops
PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.
- You may also download the instructions by clicking here.
Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of these instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office anytime for clarification.
DAY OF SURGERY
Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure
they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not being controlled. If
active bleeding persists after one hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for
another 30-60 minutes. The gauze may be changed as necessary and may be dampened for more
Do not disturb the surgical area today. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects or
your fingers. You may brush your teeth gently. Do NOT smoke, drink carbonated beverages, use
straws, suck on hard candy or cough drops, spit, or blow your nose for at least 72 hours, since it is
very detrimental to healing.
Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. It may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the surgical
areas and biting down for 30-60 minutes. It is also helpful to keep your head elevated above your heart with
a couple of extra pillows for the next 24 hours.
Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between your
teeth rather than exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning fresh packs. If bleeding persists
or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed damp dry and wrapped in
moist gauze) for 20 or 30minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.
Often there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize this by using a cold pack or ice
bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be
applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 48 hours after surgery. The 3rd and 4th
day will be the peak day for any swelling and/or discomfort.
Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a
prescription for pain medication, and if you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you will be
able to manage any discomfort better. Effects of pain medicines vary widely among individuals. If you do
not achieve adequate relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic such as aspirin or
acetaminophen. Some people may even require two of the pain pills at one time during early stages (but
that may add to the risk of upset stomach). Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within the
first six hours after the anesthetic wears off; after that your need for medicine should lessen.
Nausea is not an uncommon event after surgery, and it is sometimes caused by stronger pain medicines.
Nausea may be reduced by preceding each pill with a small amount of soft food, then taking the pill with a
large volume of water. Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize the pain medication, but call us if you
do not feel better or repeated vomiting is a problem. Cola drinks that have less carbonation may help with
Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Temperature of the food doesn’t matter, but avoid
extremely hot foods. It is sometimes advisable, but not required, to confine the first day’s intake to bland
liquids or pureed foods (creamed soups, puddings, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, milk shakes,
etc.). Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., that may get lodged in the socket areas. Over
the next several days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. It is important not to skip meals! If
you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. If
you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible and follow instructions from us
or your physician regarding your insulin schedule.
If you feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with your tongue it is probably the bony walls which originally
supported teeth. Occasionally after surgery, small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first
week or two. They are not pieces of tooth and if necessary, we will remove them. Please call the office if
you are concerned.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SECOND AND THIRD DAYS
Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Use one-quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8
ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking 5 min to use the entire
glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily for the next five days.
Begin your normal hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit
vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of