Post Operative Instructions


ANTIBIOTICS-Take exactly as prescribed, without missing any dose, until all are taken. If you had taken antibiotics prior to surgery, resume the antibiotics 6 hours from the pre-operative dose unless instructed otherwise.

PAIN MEDICATION-Pain medications are best taken with food (liquid, soft, or solid). This helps to reduce nausea and vomiting.

  • Non-narcotic: If you only have mild to moderate discomfort, you can take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen 400mg – 600mg (you may have been given a prescription for Ibuprofen) every 6-8 hours for adults or you may take Tylenol. For children, follow the directions on the bottle (the dose is dependent on age).
  • Narcotic medication: If you were given a prescription for narcotics, you may take the narcotic in addition to the Ibuprofen for additional pain relief. If you are taking narcotics, you should not drive or operate machinery. 
  • Your own medications: If you take oral diabetic medication, do not take any the day of surgery. You may resume oral diabetic medications the day following surgery. If you are on insulin, you should regulate your dose depending on your blood sugar level. You may resume all other medications in a normal manner unless instructed otherwise.

DIET & EATING – Adequate fluid intake following surgery is important. Once you get home, you should start out with clear liquids. As long as you are tolerating clear liquids, you can move onto soft foods. After the first week, progress to regular foods avoiding spicy, chewy, or crunchy foods until the extraction sites are healed (approximately 2-3 weeks). Do not drink through a straw for 4-7 days.

RINSING & BRUSHING – Rinsing should begin the day after surgery. Rinse with warm salt water (a half teaspoon in eight ounces of warm water) every 3-4 hours for one week. Carefully brush in all areas. Do not use an over-the-counter mouthwash while the area is healing.

SWELLING & BRUISING – You may have a considerable amount of swelling. Use ice packs in the areas 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 48 hours. Keep your head elevated when lying down for the first two days.

BLEEDING – Maintain firm pressure by biting on the gauze that has been placed over the surgery site for 45-60 minutes. If bleeding continues, change the gauze every 30 minutes or use a moistened tea bag. Maintain pressure and remain still for at least one hour. Bleeding for several hours following surgery is not unusual. 

DRY SOCKET – Though rare, this does happen in about 5% of extractions, most often caused by smoking. 

DO NOT SMOKE FOR 7 DAYS after extractions. If it occurs you may notice an increase in pain 4-5 days following surgery. Call the office and come in for treatment. Dry sockets need to be treated.

STITCHES – If absorbable sutures were used, they will dissolve and fall out within a few days. On occasion, sutures can fall out within a few hours. This is ok and the socket will heal.

MUSCLE PAIN– Expect difficulty when opening your mouth and chewing for several days after surgery due to swelling and inflammation in the jaw muscles. Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth. 

BONE SPICULE– During the first few weeks following tooth removal, it is possible that small splinters of bone may work loose. If this occurs, you will feel something sharp in the gum. If you have a problem with this or any other problem associated with your surgery, please contact our office.

RETAINERS – If you have had teeth removed and wear a retainer, you can resume wearing the retainer the night of surgery.

GENERAL ANESTHESIA OR I.V. SEDATION – If you had general anesthesia or IV sedation, you will need to have someone stay with you the day of surgery. If you have been lying down and need to get up, do so slowly as you may be dizzy. Also, have someone assist you when walking.

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