Your Care After Oral Surgery

After Your Surgery

  • Your skin may be bruised at the surgery site. The corners of your mouth may become dry and cracked. Use ointment or petroleum jelly to keep them moist.
  • You may have a mild sore throat and/or a low fever. If your temperature is greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, call the doctor.
  • It may hurt to swallow or to open your mouth widely. You may feel some pain in your neck, ears, and head. This is temporary and should go away.
  • If your pain is more severe after three or four days than it was on the first day, call the clinic right away.

How to Control Bleeding

After your surgery, the doctor will place gauze in your mouth and will tell you to bite down for 45 minutes. The pressure of the gauze against your wound will help stop the bleeding. After 45 minutes, remove the gauze and put in clean gauze. Bite down again. Check the gauze every 30 minutes. Continue these instructions until the bleeding stops.

If bleeding continues, follow these instructions:

  1. Find the area that is bleeding by standing in front of a mirror or having someone help you. Wipe your gums gently with clean gauze and watch to see where the bleeding starts again. 

  2. Place a moist gauze pad over the area that is bleeding and bite down gently. Continue to apply pressure by biting down.

  3. Check the gauze occasionally and change it when necessary.

  4. When the bleeding stops, you can remove the gauze.

It is not unusual to see small blood clots on the gauze or to have some blood in your saliva for several days. However, if your gums are still bleeding constantly the second day after surgery, call the clinic.

Your gums will be sensitive during the first 24 hours after your surgery and may start to bleed easy. DO NOT smoke, spit, rinse your mouth, brush your teeth, or drink through a straw. All of these activities can loosen the blood clots and start the bleeding again.

How to Reduce Pain

If you need pain medicine, the doctor will prescribe some for you. Take the medicine exactly as directed. It is a good idea to begin taking the medicine soon after your surgery, before the numbing of the anesthesia has worn off.

Many pain medicines will make you drowsy. DO NOT drive a car, drink alcohol, or use dangerous machinery or tolls while you are taking medicine.

How to Reduce Swelling

Swelling is normal after oral surgery, but too much swelling can increase the pain you feel. Every person will react differently to the surgery, so it is impossible to know how much swelling you will have.

Use an ice pack to reduce swelling. Wrap a towel around a plastic bag of ice, or use an insulated ice bag. Place the ice pack on your cheek over the swollen area. You can remove the pack when it becomes too cold for your face, but only for a short time. After your face has warmed up, put the ice pack back in position.

You should not use an ice pack while you are sleeping. To prevent swelling when you sleep, use two pillows under your head. Raise your head like this for two nights. If the swelling and discomfort continues after 3-4 days, place a warm, wet, folded cloth on the swollen area.

How to Prevent Infection

  • If your doctor has prescribed an antibiotic medicine, take it as directed. In order for the medicine to work, you must take the medicine on time and take it until all of it is gone.
  • You may need to take the medicine with a glass of milk or during meals. Sometimes medicine will cause an upset stomach if taken when your stomach is empty.
  • DO NOT drink alcohol while taking this medicine. Alcohol can affect the medicine in the stomach.
  • If you have an unusual reaction to the medicine, stop taking it and call the clinic right away.
  • Twenty-four hours after your surgery, begin rinsing your mouth gently 3-4 times a day with the following solution: one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water.
  • Begin brushing your teeth again 24 hours after your surgery. DO NOT brush the area where the surgery was performed.

What to Eat

In the first 24 hours, eat and drink only cool or cold foods and liquids. Try to eat only soft foods. On the second day, you may eat whatever you can tolerate


It is very important to keep your follow-up appointment with the doctor. Even if you are not having any problems, the doctor needs to see if you are healing properly. If you cannot keep the appointment, please call and reschedule.

  • If you have any questions after you get home, call the clinic at (878)295-8322, Monday through Friday during office hours.
  • If you need to call after hours, on the weekend, or on a holiday, call (724)205-2464.


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