Post Operative Instructions Following Oral Surgery

patient information

Instructions Following Oral Surgery


Keep fingers and tongue away from tooth socket or operative site.
Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours.

Do not smoke for 72 hours following surgery.

Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours. It is permissible to drink lukewarm or cool liquids immediately, but do not use a straw. Soft foods can be taken as soon as tolerated. A regular diet can usually resume after 5 days.

It is normal for the saliva to be lightly streaked with blood for a few days. If profuse ongoing bleeding is present, fold gauze into a firm, thick wad and place directly onto the socket or against the operative site and maintain steady pressure for 30 minutes. The less frequently the gauze is changed, the better. Do not spit out. Do not chew the gauze. In an emergency, a tea bag moistened in lukewarm water may be substituted for gauze. Do not rinse your mouth until 12 hours after the bleeding has stopped.

Considerable swelling may be expected in certain cases, reaching its maximum in 48-72 hours, then decreasing in 4-5 days. An ice pack can be applied outside the face next to the site of surgery, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, for the first 24 hours. This is not mandatory, however it may help to relieve discomfort and minimize swelling.

For simple types of surgery, over the counter pain medication used as necessary should relieve discomfort. For more severe pain, we will prescribe medication to be taken as directed. Do not take any other pain medication with these tablets unless you have been specifically directed to do so. Do not drink any alcoholic beverages while taking these tablets for pain. Since many of these prescription drugs cause drowsiness, do not take them if you are driving a car, operating machinery, or doing anything requiring concentration.

When antibiotics are prescribed they must be taken as directed. Continue taking the antibiotics until the prescription runs out unless you break out in a rash or have an adverse reaction (e.g. rash). In this case, stop taking the medication and inform our office.

Provided that no bleeding is evident, begin brushing 24 hours after surgery. Rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water {½ teaspoon salt in a glass of water} after each meal and brush your teeth using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Avoid brushing the surgical site for the first four days, then brush very gently to remove food debris. Do not rinse your mouth until the day after your surgery.

Bruising of the skin occasionally occurs. It usually disappears in 7-10 days.

Impacted and Unerupted Teeth

*** The removal of impacted teeth is different than the removal of erupted teeth. Your post-operative care is the same as that listed above. However, the following conditions may occur, none of which is unusual. ***
  • The operated side may swell considerably.
  • Trismus (tightness of the jaw muscles) may occur, making it difficult to open your mouth.
  • You may have a sore throat or pain when you swallow.
  • You may have numbness or tingling of the lip or tongue on the operated side. This condition is rarely permanent, but it may persist for several weeks or months.
  • Adjoining teeth may ache temporarily.
  • There may be an opening where the tooth was removed. The opening will gradually fill in.
  • There may be a slight fever for 24-48 hours. If the fever persists, please call our office.

Unusual Conditions

*** If any of the following conditions occur during the post-operative period, please call our office for further instructions or go to the closest dental office or hospital emergency room if bleeding is the issue. ***
  • Fever over 101° F/39° C.
  • Severe swelling after the third post-operative day.
  • Severe, bright red bleeding that you cannot control by following the directions on the reverse of this page.
  • Rash, difficulty breathing, severe vomiting, or any other suspected reaction to your medication.
  • Prolonged or severe pain which is not relieved after several doses of the pain medication.


Our Office: (416) 498-8484
Toronto Dental Emergency Service: (416) 485-7121
North York Dental Emergency Service: (416) 510-2253