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

Unless taken within a short time before the surgery, pain medications should be taken before the numbness wears off, usually within 1-2 hours after surgery.  Some medications may cause stomach discomfort, especially if taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, you may wish to eat or drink before ingesting medications, unless otherwise directed.  


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.


Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and can increase 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack over the outside cheek area for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. Beyond 48 hours after surgery, moist warm compresses (constantly applied) and/or warm salt-water rinses (3-4 times daily) will reduce residual swelling or bruising.


There may be blood in your saliva for a number of hours after the procedure and may be most notable as the numbness wears off.  This is normal.  If there is considerable bleeding, try to localize the site that is the source of the bleeding.  Next, with a piece of gauze, apply firm pressure over the area for 30 minutes without removing it for examination.  You can also place a moistened tea bag over the area to help control bleeding.  Do not attempt to stop the bleeding with vigorous rinsing.  If you have had a gum graft, bone graft, or dental implant, do not apply any direct pressure to the site where the graft or implant was placed.


The material that may be placed around your teeth or on the roof of your mouth is a periodontal surgical dressing.  It helps protect the wound and should not be disturbed.  Small particles or the entire dressing may come off.  This is not something to be concerned with, unless it causes pain.

Diet/Other Activities

The 1-2 weeks following surgery you should be on a well balanced, soft diet.  During this time, avoid tobacco products as well as foods that are hot in temperature, very spicy, or acidic.  Unless a surgical dressing is placed, do not drink through a straw, rinse, or spit until the day following treatment.  This creates suction from the surgical site and may cause bleeding.  After surgery, avoid strenuous physical activity for a least 48 hours and do not lay flat for several hours because both of these may also cause increased bleeding.


Do not smoke for as long as possible following your surgical procedure. It will significantly slow healing and can compromise results.


Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.


Do not brush the surgical site. You may resume normal brushing/flossing in other areas the following day.

Suture Removal

You may notice increased discomfort 3-4 days after the surgical procedure. As the tissues begin to heal, they may pull against the sutures and dressing. You may choose to take some form of pain medication one hour prior to your suture removal appointment to minimize tenderness. If you are a patient for whom antibiotic pre-medication 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 Warrenton Office Phone Number 540-347-0957.