Post-Op Instructions

It is important to follow instructions after you have oral surgery to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications. As a rule of thumb, you should always wait two hours after surgery before eating to let the anesthesia wear off. Trying to eat before this could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are guidelines. After your surgery the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover from surgery.

Scaling and Root Planing

After this procedure your gums will probably be slightly sore and irritated for a few days. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2-3 times a day. This will relieve the pain and cleanse the area. Brushing and flossing should be continued right after the procedure, but you should brush gently so that you do not further irritate the area. If you experience any swelling or stiffness in the area you can place a cold compress on the area and take some pain relieving medicine. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2-3 days after the surgery to ensure the area heals correctly. If you continue to experience pain or swelling after a few days contact your dentist.


After the surgery you will need to rest. You need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • …and other food you can eat without chewing

When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.

Instructions Following Periodontal Surgery

  1. Take a prescribed pain medication as soon as possible after the surgery and continue this on a regular basis throughout the first day. Beginning the day after surgery use the pain pills only if necessary. Try two Advil or Tylenol first (if not allergic) and if that isn’t enough then take the prescription pain pills.
  2. Do not take any pain pills on an empty stomach or it may cause Nausea.
  3. If antibiotics are prescribed take them as directed, until the entire prescription is used up.
  4. Avoid hot liquids and alcoholic beverages while the dressing is in place.
  5. Upon arrival at home, you can place an ice pack on the face over the operated area to minimize swelling. Keep it on 10 minutes and then off 15 minutes. After the first day, apply heat, not cold, to the area.
  6. If you have been sedated with medications, you may feel weak or dizzy for a day. Realizing this, be careful when doing anything that calls for your attention or control (like driving); when going to the bathroom, you may feel faint. Excessive exertion should be avoided for two or three days.
  7. Do try to eat. This will make you feel better.

Bleeding: A very small amount of bleeding for several hours after surgery is normal. A small amount will turn an entire mouth full of saliva red. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs please place pressure over the area of concern with damp gauze for 10 minutes, repeat as necessary. .
Pain: As with any other operation, discomfort follows periodontal surgery. The amount of discomfort Is not always related to the severity of the case and may last several days. Take the prescribed pain medications as needed. The prescriptions for pain will make you a little groggy and will slow down your reflexes. If you suddenly sit up or stand up from a laying position, you may become dizzy for a few minutes.
Dressing: The material around the teeth is an intra-oral bandage to protect the operated areas. It may stay in place until your next appointment, which will be in 5-10 days, at which time it will be removed. Pieces may chip off, do not let this concern you.
Eating: It is very important to eat well and stay nourished to insure proper healing. The patient who maintains a good diet of soft foods generally feel better, has less discomfort, and heals faster. The teeth will probably be sore to chew and might necessitate a soft diet but eat well. A liquid high protein food supplement is excellent . Foods containing tomatoes, onions, peppers, or spices of any kind will be Irritating and should be avoided. Fruit juices may cause a burning sensation.
Tooth Sensitivity: The teeth are frequently very sensitive especially to cold, for several weeks after surgery. This sensitivity will diminish with time.
Oral Hygiene: Starting the day of the surgery, brush and floss in all areas except where surgery was performed. Weak salt water rinses may be used 48 hours after surgery. It Is essential to keep your teeth clean as possible.

It is our desire that you be as comfortable as possible. If you should have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.