Post-operative Instructions



The removal of teeth, especially impacted teeth, can result in a variety of conditions.  The occurrence of any or all of the following may be considered normal:

1. The area of surgery will swell and may become quite large.  Generally it requires two to three days for swelling to reach a peak and another two to three days to go down.

2. Tightness of facial muscles may cause difficulty in opening of the mouth

3. Pain may radiate to adjacent areas (i.e. other teeth, a sore throat may develop, throbbing in the eye or the ear).  This will go away naturally as the surgical area heals.

4. Numbness about the corner of the mouth/lip on the side from which the tooth was removed may develop.  This is called a “paresthesia” and is usually a temporary condition.  It may remain for a few days to several months, but is rarely permanent.

5. There may be an elevation of temperature (99.0 – 101 degrees) for the first 24 hours after surgery.  If temperature is higher or persists, notify us.


BLEEDING:  A certain amount of oozing is normal especially following difficult extractions.  Avoid spitting or using a straw as this may stimulate bleeding.  To control bleeding:

1. Place moist gauze pack directly over the surgical site which is bleeding

2. Bite down firmly on the pack so that pressure is exerted directly on the bleeding site  (if pack is just between teeth, no pressure will reach the bleeding tissue and no benefit will be achieved).

3. Maintain the pressure pack in place, with no blood escaping for 30 minutes.

4. Repeat this same procedure as necessary, do not change too frequently.  When only a slight ooze is present, you may stop using the gauze.  Do not sleep with the gauze in place.

5. You may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed dam-dry) for 20-30 minutes.

6. If bleeding persists, please call our office.


PAIN:  If you are prescribed medication for pain, take as directed.  You can also take Advil/Motrin (ibuprofen) if you are not allergic.  Adults may take ibuprofen 600mg every 6 hours in addition to the prescribed medication.  Children  – consult package insert for appropriate dosing.  Since the pain is most severe as the anesthetic wears off, if you take the first pill before then, you will be able to manage any discomfort better.  Try and have some food in your stomach prior to the pain medication.


NAUSEA:  Nausea is not an uncommon event after surgery, and it is sometimes caused by stronger pain medicines or medicines used for general anesthesia.  If nausea occurs, limit diet to small sips of clear liquids (7-up, ginger ale, iced tea, iced coffee) for 12-24 hours.  If pain pills cause nausea, take them one at a time with a small snack, or a glass of milk.  Please contact our office if repeated vomiting is a problem.


SWELLING:  A certain amount of swelling is expected especially with difficult extractions or impactions.  This swelling can be somewhat inhibited by the immediate use of an ice pack after surgery.  Place pack on face for 15 minutes, then off for 15 minutes.  This should be applied for the first 12 hours for maximum benefit.


DIET:  It is advisable to confine the first day’s intake to bland liquids or pureed food (creamed soups, pudding, yogurt, milk shakes, etc).  Over the next several days you can progress to solid foods as comfort dictates.  If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.  Do not use a straw.


RINSING:  24 hours after surgery, use a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of water as needed to freshen the mouth.  If you were prescribed a Peridex rinse (chlorhexidine gluconate), begin this 24 hours after the surgery.  Use one tablespoon, swish for 30 seconds, then spit, doing this twice a day.  Tooth brushing should be continued in the non-surgical areas, but be gentle.  Do not rinse at all if any seepage of blood is present.  Do not smoke for 48 hours following surgery.


SHARP EDGES:  If you feel something hard or a sharp edge in the surgical area, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls which once supported the extracted teeth.  Occasionally, small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following week or so.  If they cause concern or discomfort, please call our office.