What to Expect After Surgery

Glacier Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
After tooth extraction or other oral surgery, follow the doctor's instructions. The following are general guidelines to help you recover and know what to expect:
  • Bleeding may continue for several hours and may even persist for up to 24 hours after surgery. Maintain gentle pressure at the extraction site by biting on the moistened gauze pack until bleeding stops. If profuse bleeding occurs or if any other problems occur, please call the office.
  • Some degree of swelling and discomfort is to be expected for two to three days after surgery. Maximal swelling is expected on the second and third days following surgery.
  • Most of the time the stitches dissolve on their own.
  • Eat a normal diet the day after surgery unless instructed otherwise.
  • If the IV site is tender or bruised, apply moist heat (a wet cloth) to the area.
  • If the sinus was entered during surgery, the doctor or assistant will tell you. In that case, please follow the doctor's instructions, including:
    • No nose blowing for two weeks after surgery.
    • No blowing of a musical wind instrument for two weeks after surgery.
    • Take all prescribed medications as directed.
    • If you feel air flowing at the extraction site, please call the office.


  • Keep relatively quiet today and have someone with you for most of the day.
  • Apply ice bags or cold packs to skin of the cheek adjacent to the surgical area(s). This may be applied 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Bite down gently on moistened gauze packs. Gently remove and replace with new gauze every 20 to 30 minutes until bleeding stops. Moisten one end of the gauze pack and place over the extraction site. Leave the dry end of the gauze pack hanging out of the mouth to avoid risk of swallowing the pack. Discontinue using gauze packs when there is no further bleeding.
  • Drink liquids immediately following surgery. Remove gauze packs to drink and then replace with clean, moistened gauze packs. A liquid diet is necessary until the numbness is gone. Numbness may last up to eight hours after surgery. Drink directly from a glass or spoon; do not use straws for five days. After the numbness is gone, you may eat a soft diet.
  • Take all prescribed medications as directed and take pain medications as needed for pain.
  • Beginning 24 hours after surgery, brush teeth and gums well. Also begin rinsing with salt water (1 cup of warm tap water with 1 teaspoon table salt). Rinse with salt water four to five times a day until the extraction sites are healed (seven to 10 days).
  • Beginning five days after surgery, irrigate the lower sockets with warm tap water (use provided syringe) after each meal.
  • Contact the office if you have any problems, questions or concerns following surgery.


  • Brush your teeth, rinse or spit for 24 hours.
  • Drive for 24 hours after anesthesia.
  • Replace contact lenses until the day after surgery.
  • Smoke for at least five days.
  • Drive a car, ride a bike or drink alcohol while taking the prescribed pain medications.
  • Take prescribed pain medications on an empty stomach.
  • Breastfeed for 12 hours if you were sedated for surgery.