Post Surgery

If the patient has received sedation, it is important that you, the escort, watch the patient carefully for four to six hours afterward. The patient should not be allowed to drive or even walk around unescorted. The sedation can result in slow reactions, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. If you experience problems that do not seem normal, please call the office for assistance.

Taking Care of your Mouth

When you’ve had a tooth extracted (removed), you need to take care of your mouth. Doing certain things, even on the first day, may help you feel better and heal faster.

To help control bleeding, bite firmly on the gauze placed by your oral surgeon. This pressure applied for 1-2 hours helps form a blood clot in the tooth socket. If you have a lot of bleeding, bite on a regular tea bag that has been soaked in warm water for 3 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea aids in forming a blood clot. Bite on the gauze or the tea bag until the bleeding stops.


Reduce Swelling

To reduce swelling, put an ice pack on your cheek near the extraction site. You can make an ice pack by putting ice or frozen peas in a plastic bag and wrapping in a thin towel. Apply the ice pack to your cheek for 10 minutes. Then remove it for 5 minutes. Repeat as needed.

Minimize Pain

To lessen any pain, take prescribed medication as directed. Don’t drive while taking any pain medication. If you need a medication refill, call the office during business hours. You may be asked to see the doctor before additional drugs can be prescribed.


Do not vigorously rinse, spit, smoke, lie down flat or physically exert yourself as these activities can prolong bleeding by dislodging the blood clot.

Get Enough Rest

Limit activities for the first 24 hours after an extraction. Rest during the day and go to bed early. When lying down, elevate your head slightly.

Rinsing & Oral Hygiene

Start rinsing gently with the warm salt water solution (1/2 tsp. with 1 cup of water) every 2-3 hours following your surgery. The day after your surgery, begin to wipe the surgical area(s) with the saltwater solution using the soft toothbrush. This should be done after each meal for the next 3-5 days.

Do eat a diet of soft, healthy foods and snacks.

Examples: applesauce, pudding, yogurt, Jell-O, and soup. Drink plenty of liquids while you are healing.


Below are some things to avoid while you are healing:
Do not vigorously rinse, spit, smoke, lie down flat or physically exert yourself as these activities can prolong bleeding by dislodging the blood clot.

Don’t drink with a straw.

Sucking on a straw may dislodge the blood clot.

  • Don’t vigorously rinse or spit.

Dry Socket

Though the cause is unknown, 2-3 percent of dental extractions are followed by a clinical condition known as “dry socket.” Symptoms, which begin four to seven days following extraction, include loss of the blood clot from the socket and severe pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, call our office for an appointment.


Patients who smoke will definitely have a delayed healing and more post-operative problems including infection. Smokeless tobacco should also be discontinued.

Call our office immediately if

  • Unusual pain for longer than 2-4 days
  • Bleeding becomes hard to control (slight oozing of blood on the first day is normal)
  • Swelling around the extraction site worsens
  • Itching or rashes occur after you take medication (may be an allergic reaction)

Possible Post-Operative Problems

You may not have all or any of these complications. If any of them persist or become severe, please call the office.

  • Discoloration: You may develop black and blue discoloration resembling a bruise. This is due to oozing of blood beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative event and should be treated like swelling.
  • Sore Throat: This is common after third molar (wisdom teeth) surgery. A sore throat will improve in a day or two by gargling salt water.
  • Muscle Stiffness: This is the inability to move the jaw after oral surgery. It is common and usually a result of swelling in the muscle. Chewing gum helps to limber the muscles and decrease inflammation.
  • Numbness: Often operations are performed very close to the nerves. Post-operative swelling or injury to the nerve during the procedure can cause numbness especially of the lip, tongue, and chin. This condition is usually temporary and should disappear within a matter of several weeks to months. However, permanent numbness does sometimes occur.
  • Vein Irritation: Occasionally the vein used to administer intravenous drugs becomes irritated (phlebitis). The affected vein may feel hard and tender and be discolored. If this occurs, please see one of our doctors.
  • Bone Spicules: Small sharp pieces of bone often form in the surgical area after a week or more. This is the bony wall which supported the tooth. It this occurs, please see one of our doctors.
  • Fever: A slight fever for 24-48 hours is common.


Please note that all offices transfer the phones to an answering service after 5:00 p.m. We have a doctor on call 24 hours a day.