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General Care After Oral Surgery

Surgery of the mouth, like surgery in other parts of the body, requires careful attention to post-operative care in order to minimize the normal after-effects.


If you have any questions or problems, call our office at 604 924-8088. There is always an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon on call if you have an emergency after hours.

  • Some oozing is normal for 24 – 48 hours. Excessive bleeding can frequently be controlled by biting with pressure on a pad of damp sterile gauze directly on the bleeding wound for 60 minutes.
  • Change gauze every 30-60 minutes as needed until bleeding subsides (usually 2 – 3 hours after your procedure). If bleeding starts again, it’s often controlled by these above measures.
  • Ensure that you DO NOT sleep with gauze in your mouth.
  • Keep head elevated, minimize activity, avoid spitting. Do not touch or brush the wound in the first 24 hours.

  • Some swelling may occur several hours after surgery, reaching a maximum within 3 days.
  • Apply an ice pack on the cheek as much as tolerated for 48 to 72 hours. After the third day, warm packs applied to cheeks may help to diminish swelling and stiffness.
  • Before the anaesthetic diminishes and the sensation starts to return, begin the take the prescribed pain medication, only as directed.
  • Experience in pain is extremely variable. Take prescribed pain medication as needed.
  • Taking your pain medication with food helps to prevent nausea.
  • If an antibiotic is prescribed, finish the prescribed medication. 
    Note: antibiotics decrease the effectiveness of the birth control pill.
  • Soft, cool foods and liquids will be easier to eat. Return to a normal diet as tolerated unless otherwise directed.  Avoid hot fluids and the use of a drinking straw for 1 week.
  • Mouth and wound cleanliness is essential to good healing. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 tsp salt in a glass of warm water) on the evening of surgery and continue to rinse after eating until healing is complete. Brush your teeth normally on the evening of surgery, avoiding the wound. The day after surgery, brush the teeth normally, and also gently brush the wound, even if stitches are present.
  • Stitches will dissolve on their own.
  • Avoid antiseptic mouth wash for 1 week.
  • Continue to rinse with salt water after meals until the wound is completely healed.
  • Start use of the syringe 4 days after surgery to irrigate lower tooth extraction sites with warm salt water. Use syringe 3 times per day after meals until unable to do so.
  • DO NOT DRIVE for the remainder of the day if you have had IV sedation or general anaesthetic. You are legally impaired.
  • DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY if taking Tylenol #3 and this medication can cause drowsiness.

Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, bruising, and difficulty swallowing are conditions which sometimes occur. These are normal post-operative conditions and will resolve in time. Avoid smoking for 1 week to prevent complications in healing, such as dry sockets. The trend should be improvement beyond the third day. If after the third day, there is obvious worsening of the symptoms, please call the office.