Post-Operative Instructions following Oral Surgery

Carefully following all of our oral surgery aftercare instructions can prevent complications and protect your oral health. 

1. BLEEDING - It is normal to have some oozing of blood for a short time after surgery. This can be controlled by maintaining firm pressure over the surgical site by biting on a damp chilled gauze sponge for 30 minutes. Lie quietly with the head elevated. Repeat the above procedure every 30 minutes until the active bleeding is controlled. Moistened tea bags wrapped in gauze may also be helpful. A pinkish tinge of the saliva for 24-48 hours after surgery is normal. If profuse bleeding should occur that cannot be controlled with pressure, notify your doctor.

2. DO NOT SPIT, SMOKE, OR USE A STRAW - These will create a sucking action and prolong bleeding, and / or delay healing. A gentle evacuation of the saliva is all that is needed.

3. PAIN - After surgery a moderate degree of pain is expected and should gradually subside after 24-48 hours. If a prescription drug has been provided, follow the directions on the label; otherwise, use either Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Acetaminophen, if you are able.

4. SWELLING and STIFFNESS - Swelling and stiffness is normal following oral surgery. Usually it reaches maximum on the third post operative day and gradually resolves. Once bleeding subsides, muscle exercise, like chewing gum, is beneficial in reducing swelling and stiffness. After 36 hours ice has no beneficial effect; moist warm heat to sides of both sides of face is helpful in reducing the size of swelling (this can be done for the next several days).

5. ICE- Ice will reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness. Ice bags should be applied to the face continuously. For extensive surgery it is helpful to apply it for up to 48 hours. If needed, moist heat should be used; wet a washcloth and put in microwave for 10-15 seconds.

6. DIET - Adequate nutrition is mandatory for quick recovery and healing following surgery. Resume a normal diet as soon as possible. It may be more comfortable to eat soft food and liquids for the first 12 hours. Adequate fluid intake is also important. Drink an equivalent of 8-10 glasses of fluid per day.

7. NAUSEA - Nausea is occasionally encountered following oral surgery and anesthesia. Some pain medications may precipitate it as well. It is important to take all medications with food. If this occurs the diet should consist of clear liquids. If it continues for several hours, notify your doctor.

8. ORAL HYGIENE - Good oral hygiene following oral surgery will help prevent infections and is important to normal healing. Tooth brushing should be instituted the day following oral surgery. If done slowly and carefully it will not injure the surgical sites.

9. RINSING - Avoid rinsing the mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery. Then begin rinsing with a pinch of salt in a glass of warm water at least 4 times a day. This will cleanse and sooth the oral wound. Continue rinses for 7-10 days unless otherwise advised. Diluted commercial rinses may also be used. Do not use an irrigating device (Waterpik) for 4 days.

10. ACTIVITY - Rest as much as possible for 24-48 hours. DO NOT drive a vehicle or operate machinery for 24 hours or while on medications. DO NOT undertake any responsible business matters for 24 hours. DO NOT drink any alcohol for 24 hours or while on medications.

11. ARM PAIN - Sometimes discomfort can develop at the site where intravenous medication is administered. If this should occur, bring this to the attention of your doctor. One should avoid heavy lifting or exercise with this arm for one week.

Information Concerning Oral Surgery Procedures

Side effects associated with oral surgery vary from patient to patient and with the complexity of the procedure. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal.

  • The area operated on will usually swell and may become quite large. The maximum swelling usually occurs within 48-72 hours and may take a week to resolve.
  • Stiffness of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth. Exercise will improve this symptom. If it is persistent or becomes recurrent, contact your doctor.
  • Pain in the jaw is sometimes referred to the ear, causing an earache.
  • A sore throat may develop.
  • Numbness of the lip and chin or tongue may develop. This is called “paresthesia” and is most often a temporary condition which will usually correct itself. It may remain anywhere from a few days to several months.
  • Your other teeth may ache temporarily. This is called sympathetic pain and is a temporary condition.
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with a cream or ointment such as Vaseline or lip balm.
  • There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. This area should be rinsed following meals with warm salt water or diluted mouthwash. This space will gradually fill in with new tissue.
  • Black and blue discoloration may occur on the outside of the face near the area of surgery. This is caused by blood seepage into the tissues. It will disappear within several days. Moist heat can help resolve the bruising.
  • It is normal to have a slight elevation of temperature for 24 to 48 hours. If fever continues, notify your doctor.
  • Sutures (stitches) may be used to close the surgical wound, dissolvable types are frequently used.
  • If you have severe pain 4 or 5 days after surgery, notify your doctor. It may represent a “dry socket.” This implies premature loss of the blood clot. A small medicated dressing can be placed to give quick relief.
  • Women taking birth control pills are cautioned about the use of antibiotics. Taking antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills and result in pregnancy.

Pain Medication Refills

  • The Controlled Substance Act states that Hydrocodone combination products are classified as Schedule II drugs. Therefore, these pain medications cannot be called in to a pharmacy but must be presented to the patient as a hand-written prescription. Refills on these medications are also prohibited.
  • If a patient requires additional prescription(s) of Schedule II drugs the written prescription must be picked up from our office(s) no later than noon on Friday. Midwest Oral Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery will not write narcotic prescription(s) over the weekend and federal law prohibits us from phoning them into a patient’s pharmacy.

After-Hours Exchange Phone: (314) 566-9590

Printable Post-op Instructions: 

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Great care! If I ever have to do this again I’d return. The doctor was calm and kind, explained everything to me before hand and answered all my questions. The support staff was just as sweet. The office was clean and has COVID precautions in place. Clarice V.

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