General Post-Op Instructions

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General Post-Operative Instructions


  • Avoid rinsing vigorously, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery.

  • If you had a bone grafting procedure, be as gentle as you can around the bone grafting area. Try to maintain all graft material at the surgical site.



  • Some bleeding or redness is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting firmly on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. Additionally, bleeding resistant to firm pressure biting on gauze can usually be controlled controlled by biting firmly on a plain black tea bag for 10-15 minutes continually. If significant bleeding continues for more than 1–2 days, please call the office for further instructions.



  • Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. Applying ice to the area of surgery may help to minimize swelling for the first 24–48 hours. After 48 hours, you may begin applying warm compresses to the area. Swelling can peak at day 2–3 after surgery and then should improve over the next 3–5 days. If swelling continues to increase after the third post-operative day, please call us immediately. These measures will not eliminate swelling, but they will help reduce its severity.



  • Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid very hot liquids on the day of surgery to help protect the blood clot and the sutures that may have been placed. Soft food and liquids should be eaten postoperatively on the day of surgery. Try to keep solid food away from the surgical site. You may advance your diet to a normal diet as it becomes comfortable for you.



  • You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off. Ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) may be taken together with acetaminophen (also known as Tylenol®).
  • For mild pain: Tylenol® (acetaminophen), two 325 mg tablets every 6-8 hours, OR ibuprofen (Advil®/Motrin®), three 200 mg tablets every 6-8 hours can be taken.
  • For moderate pain: 2 tablets of Tylenol® AND 3–4 tablets of ibuprofen, OR the prescription medication (as needed and as directed) AND 3–4 tablets of ibuprofen can be taken.
  • For severe pain: prescription medication (maximum dose as directed) ALTERNATED with 3 tablets of ibuprofen every 3-4 hours can be taken.
  • Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it. This may include patients with liver or kidney disease. Children can also combine acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but the dose instructions on the bottle should be followed.


Healthy adults should never exceed 3200 mg of ibuprofen or 4000 mg of Tylenol® in one 24-hour period.



  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic, be sure to take it exactly as directed until it is gone. This is very important for treating or preventing infection.


Oral hygiene

  • Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm saltwater rinses should be used after meals. If you are given a prescription for Peridex™ Oral Rinse, gently rinse for 30 seconds and spit twice a day. You may gently brush the tooth surfaces of the adjacent teeth as long as the bristles don’t disturb the surgical site. You may floss normally starting the day of surgery, if comfortable.



  • Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are exercising, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking in normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.



  • Smoking severely limits your body’s ability to heal after any surgery or trauma. To reduce the risk of complications, pain, and dry sockets, please don’t smoke.


Wearing Your Retainer or Prosthesis

  • In most cases, retainers, dentures, or flippers may be used immediately after surgery. In general, the prostheses should not touch the surgical site. If a retainer or prosthesis is extremely uncomfortable due to the surgery, consider leaving it out for a few days until things improve.



  • If sutures were placed, typically they are the kind that come out on their own over 5–7 days. If they are the kind that need to be removed, an appointment will be scheduled to remove them.


If you have any questions or concerns during business hours OR AFTER HOURS, do not hesitate to call us at 864-714-1800.