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Post-Operative Instructions for Intraoral Surgery



The after-effects of oral surgery vary per individual, so not all of these instructions may apply. Please feel free to call our office at any time should you have any questions, or are experiencing any unusual symptoms following your treatment.


Patients who received a general anesthetic should return home from the office immediately upon discharge, and lie down with the head elevated until all the effects of the anesthetic have disappeared. Anesthetic effects vary by individual, and you may feel drowsy for a short period of time or for several hours. You should not operate any mechanical equipment or drive a motor vehicle for at least 24 hours or longer if you feel any residual effect from the anesthetic.


  • Do not disturb the surgical area today. Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze pack that we have initially placed over the surgical area, making sure that they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding in not being controlled. This is important to allow blood clot formation on the surgery site. The gauze may be changed when necessary and/or repositioned for comfort. DO NOT drink with a straw and DO NOT rinse or brush your teeth vigorously or probe the area with the tongue, any objects, or your fingers. You may brush your teeth gently, carefully avoiding the surgical site. DO NOT SMOKE for at LEAST 48 hours, since it is detrimental to the healing process.
  • If a bone graft was placed, avoid any vigorous swishing for 7 days. After 1 week, you can begin to gently swish with Peridex (Chlorahexidine Gluconate) oral rinse. You may start normal tooth brushing the day after the surgery or after bleeding is controlled. It is imperative to keep your mouth clean, since an accumulation of food or debris may promote infection.


  • Some bleeding is normal, and blood-tinged saliva may be present for 24 hours. This may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the surgical area and biting down firmly for 30-60 minutes.
  • STEADY BLEEDING. Bleeding should not be severe. If bleeding persists, this may be due to the gauze pads being clenched between the teeth rather than exerting pressure on the surgery site. Try repositioning the gauze. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, substitute a moist tea bag (first soaked in hot water, squeezed dry and wrapped in moist gauze) on the area for 20-30 minutes. If bleeding continues, please call our office.


  • Swelling is to be expected, and usually reaches its maximum in 48 hours. To minimize swelling, cold packs or ice bag wrapped in a towel should be applied to the face adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied 20 minutes on then removed for 20 minutes during the first 12-24 hours after surgery. If you were prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed. Bruising may also occur, but should disappear soon. Tightness of the jaw muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth. This should resolve within 7 days. Keeps lips moist with cream or Vaseline to prevent cracking or chapping.


  • Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. It is advisable to confine the first day’s food intake to soft foods such as soup, mashed potatoes, jello, applesauce, grits, scrambled eggs, etc. Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds or popcorn, which may get lodged in the socket areas. Avoid carbonated beverages like coke, sprite, etc for the first 48 hours. Avoid alcoholic beverages for 72 hours. Over the next several days, you may progress to more solid foods. Proper nourishment aids in the healing process. If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal diet as much as possible and follow your physician’s instructions regarding your insulin schedule.


  • Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. Take the pain medication prescribed as directed. The local anesthetic administered with the general anesthetic during your surgery normally has 3 hour duration, and it may be difficult to control the pain once the anesthetic wears off. We therefore, advise you to take the pain medication 1 hour immediately after your surgery. If you do not achieve adequate pain relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Taking the pain medication with soft food and a large volume of water will lessen any side effects of nausea or stomach upset.
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic and are currently taking oral contraceptives, you should use an alternate method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle.


  • If you wear orthodontic appliances, you may replace them after surgery unless otherwise instructed. If these appliances are left out of the mouth for any length of time, it is often difficult or impossible to insert them.



  • Keeping your mouth clean after oral surgery is essential. Begin your normal tooth brushing routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may prevent rigorous brushing of all areas, but make every effort to clean your teeth within your comfort level. You may have stitches put in your mouth.They are dissolvable and will fall out themselves in approximately 7-10 days.


  • Apply cold compresses to the skin overlying areas of swelling for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help soothe these tender areas. This will also aid in reducing swelling and stiffness. If you were given an irrigating syringe, start using it the fourth day after surgery to keep the sockets clean. Fill it with warm saltwater (1/2 tsp salt per 1 cup water) or diluted mouth wash and irrigate any open sockets gently, especially after eating.



  • The blood clot on the surgical site may be lost causing a dry socket (usually on the 3rd to 5th day). There will be a noticeable, distinct, persistent pain in the jaw area, often radiating toward the ear and forward along the jaw which may cause other teeth to ache. If you do not see steady improvement during the first few days after surgery or if severe pain persists, please call the office to report these symptoms.


  • This may be expected, and is usually limited to the neck or cheek area near the surgical site. This is caused by bleeding through the mucous membranes of the mouth beneath the skin and appears as a bruise. If discoloration occurs, it often takes a week for this to completely disappear. Occasionally, the arm or hand near the site where the IV was placed to administer medications may remain inflamed and tender. This is caused by chemical irritation in the vein. Ibuprofen and application of heat on the area will usually correct these symptoms.


  • Loss of sensation of the lip and chin may occur, usually following lower wisdom teeth removal. This is usually temporary and disappears within a few days or weeks. Occasionally, some numbness may persist for months, due to the close association of the roots of the teeth to the nerve that supplies sensation to these areas described.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. If you have any questions about your progress or any symptoms you are experiencing, please call our office at 601-420-3223 and leave a message. Dr. Nichols or a staff member will contact you as soon as possible.

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