Post-operative Instructions

These instructions apply to the surgical procedure just completed. They are designed to help you minimize post-surgical discomfort and inform you of any situation that may require special attention.

Pain Medications

It is not unusual to have discomfort for at least the first week following your surgical procedure. You will be given a prescription for medication to help you tolerate the post-surgical recovery period. Please take your medications as directed. If necessary, you may take your pain medication more frequently than every 4-6 hours to stay ahead of the soreness. It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

As an alternative to prescription medications, many patients taking a combination of over-the-counter ibuprofen and Tylenol have favorable management of their postoperative pain. Depending on your medical history, the doctor may recommend over-the-counter dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen during the days following surgery.

Note: When taking any prescribed medication containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) such as Percocet, Vicodin or Tylenol with Codeine, you should not take additional Tylenol so as not to exceed the recommended maximum daily dose of acetaminophen. Some medications labeled as “non-aspirin” have acetaminophen (Tylenol) as the active ingredient. Please contact the office with any questions you may have regarding pain medications.


Please alert the office to any allergies or sensitivities that you might have to antibiotics. An antibiotic may be prescribed following your surgical procedure. Take as directed until gone. It is advisable not to take these medications on an empty stomach, as nausea may result. For women taking birth control pills, be advised that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness. If taken for contraception, additional methods of birth control are necessary.


Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and will typically increase 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack over the outside cheek area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Continue using ice for 2-3 days following the procedure as often as possible.


A small amount of bleeding is normal. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:

  • Do not rinse your mouth.
  • Elevate your head when lying down.
  • Apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary.
  • Enclose a moistened tea bag in a gauze square and apply pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Call the office if bleeding persists.


Occasionally a surgical dressing is used to protect a surgical site and help reduce discomfort. A dressing acts similar to a bandage, and may come off on its own. If a dressing is uncomfortable, please call the office and we can be of assistance.


Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid hot foods and liquids for approximately 1 hour following the surgery. A soft diet is recommended. Many foods are safe to eat following surgery if your diet allows, including oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and many fruits. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing.


Do not smoke for at least 2 weeks following your surgical procedure. Smoking can significantly slow healing and adversely affect treatment outcomes. We are happy to be of assistance if you are ready to quit smoking, as many of our patients have successfully quit.


Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.


Do not rinse for the first 24 hours unless instructed to do so. After that, you may use a mild, diluted mouthwash. Repeat as necessary to help keep the dressing clean.


Do not brush the surgical site unless instructed to do so. You may resume normal brushing and flossing in other areas the following day. Depending on your treatment, routine hygiene around a surgical area is often possible following suture removal. 

Suture Removal

Depending on your procedure, your sutures may come out on their own or be removed at a later visit. As the tissues begin to heal, sutures may begin to feel different or pull against tissue. You may choose to take some form of pain medication one hour prior to your suture removal appointment to minimize tenderness if needed. If you are a patient for whom antibiotic premedication is required, take the prescribed antibiotics 1 hour prior to your suture removal appointment. 

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at 520-742-4227.