Postoperative Care


Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply.  However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification.  Our number is Martin Oral & Facial Surgery Phone Number (662) 323-3801.



The patient should not drive a vehicle or operate any machinery for 24 hours following the IV sedation / general anesthesia experience.

FIRST HOUR AFTER SURGERY: Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place.  Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled.  The packs may be gently removed after one hour.  Check to see if mouth is still bleeding by looking inside mouth, not on the gauze. Blood on the gauze is completely normal.  If active bleeding persists, place new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes.  The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30 to 45 minutes).  It is best to moisten the gauze with cold tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning.  If no active bleeding is noted, there is no need to replace gauze.


EXERCISE CARE:  Do not disturb the surgical area today.  Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects.  You may brush your teeth gently.  PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since this is very detrimental to healing and may cause a dry socket.


OOZING:  Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal.  Bleeding may be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for one hour at a time. 


PERSISTENT BLEEDING:  Bleeding should never be severe.  If so, it usually means that the gauze is being held between teeth only and is not exerting pressure on the surgical areas. Try repositioning the gauze.  If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes.  If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office.


SWELLING:  Swelling is often associated with oral surgery.  It can be minimized by using a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area.  This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery.  If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed. 


PAIN:  Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort.  You will usually have a prescription for pain medication.  If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better.  Some patients find that stronger pain medicine causes nausea, but if you precede each pain pill with a small amount of food, chances for nausea will be reduced.  The effects of pain medications vary widely among individuals.  Remember that the most severe pain is usually within six hours after the local anesthetic wears off; after that your need for medicine should lessen.  If you find you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office.  If you anticipate needing more prescription medication for the weekend, you must call for a refill during weekday business hours.


NAUSEA:  Nausea is not uncommon after surgery.  Sometimes pain medications are the cause.  Nausea can be reduced by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food, and taking the pill with a large volume of water.  Try to keep taking clear fluids and minimize dosing of pain medications, but contact our office if you do not feel better.


DIET:  Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort.  Avoid extremely hot foods.  Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery.  It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.)  It is best to avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the extraction sites.  Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods.  It is important not to skip meals!  If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.  If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor.


SHARP EDGES:  If you feel something hard or sharp edges in the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls, which once supported the extracted teeth.  These will most often time remodel and smooth over time.  However, if they cause concern or discomfort, please call the office.



MOUTH RINSES:  Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential.  Mouth rinses with warm salt water should be started the day after surgery.  If your doctor feels that you should have antibiotic mouth rinse, it should be started the day after surgery as well.


BRUSHING:  Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery.  Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort.


HEALING:  Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling.  On the third day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, steady improvement.  If you do not see continued improvement, please call our office. 


IRRIGATING SYRINGE: If you are given a plastic irrigating syringe, DO NOT use it for the first five days.  Then use it twice daily to irrigate out the sockets with antibiotic mouth rinse or warm salt water until you are certain the tooth socket has closed completely and that there is no chance of any food particles lodging in the socket.


It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office where you had surgery.  Calling during office hours will afford a faster response to your question or concern.  You may reach us after hours by pager if you have questions or concerns regarding your post operative course.  You will find the pager number on your post operative instructions sent home with you after your surgery.   Upon dialing this number, you will hear a beep.  After the beep, enter your call back number and hang up.  Dr. Martin will return your page as soon as possible. PLEASE NOTE:  Telephone calls for narcotic (painkiller) prescription renewals are ONLY accepted during office hours.


SCHOOL AND WORK EXCUSES: An excuse for work or school may be issued at the time of your appointment upon your request.  A standard excuse ranges from one to three days post operatively depending upon the nature and complexity of your treatment. If you need an excuse for days that fall outside the range of days stated on your excuse given at the time of your appointment, you must contact our office prior to days missed. Excuses will not be given after the day of work or school has already been missed.