Post Operative Instructions



After your procedure it is very important to follow post surgical care guidelines for improved recovery and reduced complications. Your specific post operative instructions will be given at the presurgical appointment and then again at the surgical appointment. The following are common care instructions for common procedures

Tooth extraction instructions:

  • bite firmly on guaze for 1-2 hours, only removing guaze to drink fluids or take medications
  • do not suck and spit excessively as this can cause “dry sockets”
  • begin brushing teeth gently 24 hours after your procedure and rinse with warm salt water (1 cup warm water to 1/4 teaspoon of table salt). The cleaner you keep your mouth the more quickly you will heal. No commercial mouthwash for 5-7 days after your procedure
  • Eat softer foods for 24 hours and then slowly advance your diet to a normal diet. Examples of softer food are pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, scrambled eggs and over cooked noodles.
  • Do not pick or dig at the extraction sites even if food impacts in the area. Continue with gentle rinses.
  • Avoid hot or acidic foods/drinks for a few days to help avoid “dry sockets”
  • DO NOT SMOKE! Smoking slows healing significantly and increases ALL post operative complications.

For continued bleeding after tooth extractions

  • firmly bite on guaze for 2 hours without talking or removing guaze
  • firmly bite on moistened tea bags for 2 hours without talking or removing guaze
  • if notable bleeding persists after these 4 hours please call our office


“Doctor, how do I know I have dry socket?”

  • The discomfort is a distinct pulsatile throbbing or deep ache
  • It occurs 3-5 days after an extraction
  • It occurs on lower teeth
  • It does not permit the patient to sleep or get rest for more than 1-2 hours
  • Pain medication will not help with the discomfort!
  • Patients who smoke or take birth control medications are at significant higher risk for “dry socket”.

If you think you have a dry socket, please call the office to be seen.

“Doctor, since I’ve been home from my procedure, I have been really nauseous. What do I do?” Many factors contribute to post anesthesia nausea. Some of these are:

  • An empty stomach (most stomachs are empty for 6 hours prior to the procedure!)
  • Swallowing too much blood
  • Medications such as antibiotics or pain medications
  • The Intravenous anesthesia medications
  • Eating/drinking too much too quickly after your procedure

You can help reduce the incidence of post anesthesia nausea by:

  • Starting to drink modest amounts of clear fluids soon after your procedure. Continue to sip clear fluids even if you have episodes of vomiting
  • do not take pain medications or antibiotics on an empty stomach
  • slowly increase your diet to include modest amounts of soft foods 2-4 hours after your procedure
  • do not engage in physical activity more than walking and relaxing in the first 12 hours after your procedure
  • do not drive for 24 hours after your procedure and ride in a vehicle as little as possible to avoid motion sickness

If you cannot hold down clear liquids for more than 8 hours please call the office.