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Post-Operative Instructions: General Oral


All surgical procedures are associated with normal side effects and the possibility of complications. This information has been compiled to help our patients understand the healing process and how to avoid problems. By following these instructions closely, you will ensure that your recovery is as comfortable as possible.

After your procedure, there is often swelling of the face and sometimes bruising of the skin. This is normal. An ice bag applied to the area (20 minutes on and 20 minutes off) for the first 24 hours will keep swelling to a minimum. Maximum swelling usually occurs within 48–72 hours after surgery. Swelling can persist for 7–10 days. If the swelling resolves but then returns, please contact our office.

Eat a light diet for the first 2 days (for example, yogurt, soup, Jell-O®, milk drinks, and meal replacements) and then progress to a more normal diet. Avoid hot foods and do not use straws for the first day, as this tends to cause bleeding. Drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated.

Rest for the remainder of the day following your operation, keeping your head slightly elevated.

Refrain from smoking, as smoking prevents healing and can increase your discomfort.

Some bleeding is normal for the first 24–48 hours. If bleeding is heavy, use moist gauze squares, folded in 4, and apply firm pressure to the bleeding area by biting on the gauze for 45 minutes. Do not spit on the day of your surgery, as this tends to promote bleeding.

Gentle tooth brushing can be resumed the day after your procedure.

It is important to keep your mouth clean. Starting the day after surgery, use a saltwater rinse (1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) after meals and before bed. If a prescription mouth rinse has been recommended, please follow the directions as outlined by your healthcare professional.

If necessary, you will be prescribed medication to prevent and relieve discomfort. It is important to read the label to ensure the medications are taken properly. Please follow these instructions carefully. Often, over-the-counter medications are effective, and a prescription is not required. The use of these medications should be discussed with our team or your pharmacist.

Dissolving stitches are used for most procedures. It is normal for these to begin to dissolve after 4–10 days.

If you have had IV anesthesia, please be aware of the possibility of psychomotor impairment, temporary amnesia, and re-sedation after surgery. The effects of IV anesthesia can differ from patient to patient, and a responsible adult should be present for the first 24 hours following surgery. Patients who received IV anesthesia must not drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions (sign legal documentation) for 24 hours following the procedure.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office, and we will be happy to assist in any way possible. If your issue is serious, please follow our telephone prompts to the emergency line, and we will return your call once the message is received.

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Please contact our office if you have any questions or issues with these instructions.

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