After Oral Surgery

Please read the instructions carefully and call our office if you have any questions or concerns. It is very important to follow instructions following your oral surgery procedure to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.

Immediately following surgery:

  • If you have had any form of sedation, DO NOT operate a motor vehicle for 24 hours. You should have a responsible adult with you the first 24 hours after sedation because your coordination and judgment are impaired.
  • You should bite with firm, steady pressure on the gauze provided for approximately 2 hours following surgery. Change the gauze every 30 minutes as needed. DO NOT CHEW ON THE GAUZE.
  • Keep your head elevated and ice packs on your face in the area of the surgical sites.
  • YOU SHOULD NOT RINSE YOUR MOUTH WITH ANYTHING FOR 24 HOURS. However, you may brush your teeth as normal using caution to avoid the surgical sites. After 24 hours, in addition to your routine brushing, GENTLY rinse your mouth with a salt water solution (made by dissolving a ½ teaspoon of table salt into an 8oz glass of water). Rinse 3-4 times a day for one week.
  • DO NOT SMOKE following your surgery for a minimum of 5-7 days as this will cause additional pain and delay healing.
  • Take all medications as they have been prescribed. If you have been given a prescription for pain medication you should not operate a motor vehicle while taking the medication.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office. We are here to help in any way we can to ensure that you have a great surgical experience with our office. Kernersville Office Phone Number 336-992-2123


  • Some bleeding and drainage is normal for up to 24 hours following your procedure. For minor bleeding, it is not necessary to continue biting down on the gauze for more than 2 hours. However, if excessive bleeding occurs, place a gauze pad directly over the surgical site with firm and steady biting pressure for one full hour.
  • If bleeding continues, wrap moist gauze around a tea bag and bite on this for one hour. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting the bleeding vessels.
  • If excessive bleeding still continues, please call our office for further instructions. Kernersville Office Phone Number 336-992-2123


  • Some pain and soreness is to be expected following oral surgery. When you leave our office you will still be numb. This will last approximately 1-2 hours. Before the numbness wears off you should take the pain medication prescribed to you as directed (not on an empty stomach). This will help ease the transition of the numbness wearing off. You may alternate with 600-800mg Advil or Ibuprofen (3-4 over the counter pills) every 6 hours with the prescription pain medication. After the first 24-48 hours, the Advil or Ibuprofen should manage your pain sufficiently. However, in some cases, the prescription pain medication is still needed.
  • Your peak day for pain and swelling is commonly the second and third day. From this point symptoms should improve with each day.


  • Start with clear liquids. While you are numb, you should only have liquid-type foods that do not require any chewing. (Try to find the following items in sugar-free or low sugar options: ice cream, yogurt, pudding, jello, protein shake, etc…). After 24 hours you may have soft foods (eggs, cooked veggies, fish, soups, etc…). We recommend avoiding sugary items after surgery. Salty liquids such as chicken/beef broth are also beneficial. Avoid sharp, crunchy and chewy foods for the first week following your surgery. Also, try to chew away from the surgical sites.
  • It is very important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated for the week following your surgery. Also try to eat foods that are high in protein and get your regular amount of calories as this will help you to feel better and recover more quickly.

Swelling and Bruising:

  • Swelling is common after oral surgery for up to one week with the maximum amount of swelling peaking on the 2 nd or 3 rd day following surgery. After the swelling peaks it will resolve over 4-7 days.
  • To minimize swelling, ice packs are placed outside of the face quickly following your surgery. The ice packs should be used as much as possible for the first 24 hours. This will help to reduce discomfort, bruising and swelling. After 48 hours, the application of moist heat on the outside of your face is beneficial in reducing the amount of facial swelling after surgery.
  • On the first evening after surgery, it is important to keep your head elevated with 2 pillows while sleeping.

Dentures, Partial or Essix appliance:

  • If you had a denture, partial or essix appliance placed the day of your surgery, DO NOT remove your appliance for the first 48 hours except to rinse with salt water. If you leave if out for more than a few minutes, you may have an increase in swelling that will cause your appliance not to fit until the swelling subsides.


  • If sutures were placed, typically they will dissolve and do not need to be removed. If your sutures require removal, this will be done at your post-operative appointment.
  • A limited opening and tightness in your cheeks is normal for up to two weeks following oral surgery. The application of moist heat and resuming a normal diet will help.
  • Sharp bony fragments in the gum tissue may be noticed 1-3 weeks following surgery. During the healing process, the fragments may loosen and work their way out through the gum tissue like a splinter. Generally they will resolve on their own. However, if it becomes too uncomfortable, please call our office at Kernersville Office Phone Number 336-992-2123 for further instructions.
  • IF numbness in the lip, chin or tongue occurs after surgery, this is no cause for alarm. Most likely this is due to swelling or bruising around the nerve that gives feeling and sensation to these areas. This is usually temporary and we will follow your progress until normal sensation occurs.