Post-Operative Instructions


Office phone: (231) 733-1571

Emergency: (231) 737-6601

 Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply. 


Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place.  The packs may be gently removed after 20-30 min.  Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes.  The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30 to 45 minutes).  It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water.

Do not disturb the surgical area today.  DO NOT rinse your mouth day of surgery. You may brush your teeth gently. Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential.  Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily.  PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.

SWELLING:  Swelling is often associated with oral surgery and usually peaks 3 or 4 days following surgery.  It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area.  This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 6-8 hours after surgery.

PAIN:  Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort.  You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. Some patients may even be given two prescriptions. If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to better manage any discomfort. The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief at first, you may supplement with the second prescription for pain. Then continue to alternate the two medications until pain is under control. Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced. Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within 48-72 hours after the surgery; after that your need for medicine should lessen.  If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office.  If you anticipate needing more prescription medication for the weekend, you must call for a refill before 4:00 during weekday business hours.  Please note: The medications prescribed by this office may temporarily interfere with the effectiveness of birth control medications.

PERSISTENT BLEEDING:  Bleeding should never be severe.  If so, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between teeth only and are not exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning the packs.  If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in warm water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in a moist gauze) and place over the extraction site for 20 to 30 minutes.  If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.

NAUSEA:  Nausea is not uncommon after surgery.  Sometimes pain medications are the cause.  Nausea can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food, and taking the pill with a large volume of water.  Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize dosing of pain medications, but call us if you do not feel better. Sips of a carbonated beverage may help with nausea.

DIET:  Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort.  Avoid extremely hot foods.  Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery.  It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.)  It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas.  Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods.  It is important not to skip meals!  If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.



MOUTH RINSES:  Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential.  Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful.  Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily. BE CAREFUL not to disturb the clot by forceful spitting.  If you are given a plastic irrigation syringe, DO NOT use it for the first three to four days. Then use it daily according to the instructions until you are certain the tooth socket has closed completely and that there is no chance of any food particles lodging in the socket. Do not use mouthwashes for one week. BRUSHING:  Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery.  Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.

HEALING:  Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first 2-3 days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling.  On the 3rd or 4th day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, steady improvement.  If you don’t see continued improvement, please call our office.

FEVER:  A slight elevation of temperature during the first 24 hours after surgery is normal. Call our office if there is a markedly elevated temperature.

ITCHING OR SKIN RASH: Discontinue the medications given by us and call our office.

SHARP EDGES:  If you feel something hard or feel sharp edges in the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls which once supported the extracted teeth.  Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out within the healing process.  If they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.


You will be rinsing with the Chlorhexidine mouth rinse that you were given. Rinsing two or three times daily, starting the day after surgery.  If you had any bone graft placed, occasionally small particles may work themselves out during the following couple weeks after surgery.  If they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.  Patients who have had a sinus tap/lift procedure will be given a separate sheet of instructions.