Information for Patients: Instructions for After Surgery

You may feel pain.

The severity of the pain varies from person to person and from operation to operation.

What to do: Take prescribed or recommended medication as instructed. If the pain medication isn’t working, or if the pain continues unchanged for over 48 hours, call our office.

What not to do: Do not exceed the recommended dose of medication. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while on pain medication.

Your mouth may bleed.

Because blood and saliva mix in your mouth, it may look as though you are bleeding more than you actually are. Bleeding usually only lasts 24 hours after surgery.

What to do: For the first half hour after surgery keep firm pressure on a gauze covering the wound. If bleeding continues, replace the gauze and continue to apply pressure. A slightly moistened tea bag can be used in place of a gauze pad.

What not to do: Avoid exertion. This slows down your circulation and helps stop bleeding faster. Once bleeding has stopped, usually the next day, you can rinse your mouth with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water after each meal.

What not to do: Avoid rinsing your mouth for 24 hours after surgery. Brush your teeth as usual, but avoid the wound.

Avoid alcohol, hot liquids and drinking through a straw for 3 days after surgery. Avoid smoking for this period, as it may seriously disturb healing. Avoid ASA type drugs, such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, as they may make bleeding worse.

You may experience swelling.

It usually occurs in the first 24 to 48 hours, and can take 3 to 4 days to subside.

What to do: Place an ice bag or a bag of frozen peas on the swollen area for 10 minutes, remove for 10 minutes and repeat. This works well for the first 8-12 hours after surgery.

What not to do: Do not apply heat to the swollen area. This can make swelling worse.

You may have difficulty opening your mouth.

This is because the jaw muscles become stiff from holding your mouth open during surgery. It usually lasts 3 to 4 days.

What to do: Massage the jaw muscles gently. Apply moist heat for 10 minutes, remove for 10 minutes and repeat. Eat soft nutritious food like eggs, milk shakes, juices, soup (warm, not hot) pasta, bananas.

What not to do: Do not force your mouth open.

Other unusual conditions:

What to do: Call our office at (905) 880-7003 or Etobicoke General Emergency at (905) 747-3582

What to do: These often resolve by themselves over a period of time. Referral to a specialist may be needed.