Post-Op Instructions

Surgery of the oral cavity is similar to surgery to other parts of the body and requires careful attention to post-operative instructions. Only by doing so will there be a minimal number of side effects.

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  1. After leaving the office or hospital, go directly home and keep physical activity to a minimum for the remainder of the day.
  2. If you have received intravenous sedation, neurolept anaesthetic or general anaesthetic, you should not operate a vehicle or use hazardous devices on the day of surgery. Most insurance policies have a clause dealing with operating motorized equipment while impaired. A responsible adult should accompany you home and stay with you for the remainder of the day.
  3. Do not disturb the surgical area with your finger, by sucking on it, or by spitting. The blood clot, which forms over the surgical area, is part of the healing process and should not be disturbed.
  4. Do not rinse your mouth with salt water or brush your teeth for 24 hours following surgery. If an antibacterial rinse is ordered (e.g. Peridex), start it the day of surgery.
  5. Start rinsing your mouth 24 hours after surgery. Use a salt and water mouth wash unless otherwise directed (recommended strength: one teaspoon to ½ litre of water). Rinse a minimum of 8 to 10 times a day, especially after eating or drinking. Keep rinsing until your next appointment unless otherwise directed.
  6. Swelling is to be expected in certain cases, often reaching its maximum in about 72 hours, then disappearing spontaneously in a further 2 to 3 days. In an attempt to minimize the swelling and to relieve discomfort, an ice pack may be applied to the face 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off for the first 6 to 8 hours following surgery. The day after surgery, warm moist compresses may be applied to the face 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off; and may be continued as needed until your next appointment unless otherwise directed. There is no need to remain indoors, “avoid drafts” or cover the swelling.
  7. It is normal for the surgical area to ooze for 24 hours. After leaving the office or hospital, bite on the gauze pad over the surgical area for 1 hour (do not chew on the gauze, and keep talking to a minimum). After 1 hour, remove the gauze. If excessive bleeding is present, fold the provided gauze into a firm pad and place it directly over the surgical area. Maintain steady pressure for another hour, then remove. This may be repeated if excessive bleeding remains present. If after 3 hours (and/or you run out of gauze) and excessive bleeding has not subsided, call for further instructions or notify your local dentist if you are from out of town.
  8. If medication has been prescribed, take as directed. If you are taking pain medication such as Percocet or Tylenol #3, you should avoid operating a vehicle or using hazardous devices. If no pain medication is prescribed, take 2 Tylenol (acetaminophen) every four hours if necessary and if not medically contraindicated.
  9. Antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Consider using other methods of contraception in addition to oral contraceptives.
  10. Cold or lukewarm liquids may be taken for the first 4 to 6 hours (or until freezing is gone) following your return home. Unless otherwise specified, maintain a soft diet for a few days. Do not drink through a straw. Avoid alcohol and hot drinks for 24 hours following a surgery.
  11. Do not smoke. Smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of post-operative pain as well as slower healing of the surgical site.
  12. Bruising of the skin sometimes occurs and then disappears spontaneously in approximately one week. No treatment for this is usually indicated but warm moist compresses starting 24 hours after surgery, as previously mentioned, may help larger yellowish areas to resolve.
  13. Jaw exercises are very important. You must begin opening your mouth fully today to stretch the muscles in your face. This will help minimize swelling and discomfort.
  14. Pain in the ear, slight difficulty in swallowing and/or difficulty in opening the jaw completely are additional signs and symptoms, which may occur with varying frequency. These findings are usually normal. If these persist or continue to worsen, please call us.
  15. Begin brushing 24 hours after your surgery. You must brush gently on the operative site, and stitches if you have any. This will remove plaque (bacteria) and prevent infection in the surgical areas.
  16. Begin using monject syringe on day 4 (e.g. if surgery is Monday starting syringing Thursday).

TEL: (902) 892-7600

Post-Op care for Wisdom Teeth


Post-Op care for other extractions 


Post-op care for extractions with Socket Preservation