Post-Op Instructions


Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification. Our telephone number is: 262-654-6770.


General Instructions

Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first 45 minutes unless the bleeding is not controlled. The packs may be gently removed after 45 minutes. If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30 to 45 minutes). It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning. No nose blowing should be done and open mouth sneezing (if necessary) for the first 3-5 days if upper teeth were removed. If you feel congested you can take any variety of over the counter decongestants to help congestion. Do not rinse your mouth or spit out today. Starting the day after your surgery and continuing for one week rinsing your mouth gently every 3 to 4 hours with warm salt water. If a mouth rinse was prescribed use it as directed. Start brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush the day after surgery. Small sharp bone fragments may work through the gums during the healing process. These are not roots and if they are bothersome, please return to the office for evaluation.


Surgical Site Care

Do not disturb the surgical area today. Do not rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. Please Do Not Smoke for at least 5-7 days, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket. We do not advise smoking at all, but if you must do not do so until the site is completely healed and feels normal and you are no longer having any pain or sensitivity.


Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal. Placing fresh, moist gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for 20-40 minutes at a time control any bleeding. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office. If you have had sutures placed they most likely will dissolve on their own in approximately 4-6 days. Occasionally Dr. Santarelli or Dr. Tiboris will place sutures that do not dissolve and will need to be removed on your post-operative visit.


Swelling is often associated with oral surgical procedures. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 48 hours after surgery. After this, use moist heat. If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed.


Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. If you take a dose of pain medication before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort much better. Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced. Take your medication as prescribed, you should never exceed the prescribed dosage. Remember that the most severe pain is usually within six to eight hours after the local anesthetic wears off; after that your need for medicine should lessen. If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office. If you anticipate needing more prescription medication for the weekend, you must call for a refill during weekday business hours.


Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Avoid extremely hot foods. Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery. It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.) It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas. It is important not to skip meals! If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor. If you were sedated or “put to sleep” for your procedure it is advisable to confine your diet to 1 to 1½ hours of clear liquids [apple juice, cranberry juice, water, etc.] before beginning any soft foods and a responsible adult should be present with you for 24 hours after the procedure.

WisNova Institute of Dental Specialists
5021 Washington Road
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: 262-207-4481
Fax: 262-654-6727
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