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Post-Operative Instructions:

General post-op instructions


Patients who have undergone IV sedation should be carefully attended to by a responsible family member or friend for at least several hours after leaving the office. The patient cannot drive for 24 hours or while taking narcotic pain medication.


A certain amount of discomfort is to be expected with any surgical procedure. This varies with the amount of surgery required. Discomfort is usually well-controlled by over-the-counter medication. Depending on the difficulty of the procedure, stronger pain medication may be prescribed. Make sure to eat something before taking any narcotic pain medication. Nausea is the most common side effect. Take all prescribed pain medication as directed.


Bleeding follows any surgical procedure and should not cause alarm unless it is excessive or persistent. To control bleeding, we will place a gauze dressing over the surgical site and have the patient apply firm pressure. This pressure will stop the bleeding.

  • The gauze will need to be changed ONCE every hour for the first few hours after surgery. It will be important to ensure the gauze is placed directly over the surgical site and the patient has firm biting pressure applied.
  • If the bleeding is brisk, place a tea bag under cold water and remove excess water. Place the tea bag over the surgical site and have the patient bite down on the tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannins in the tea will help stop the bleeding more quickly.
  • Remove the gauze or tea bags when eating or drinking to avoid choking.
  • Make sure to remove all gauze and tea bags from the mouth before taking naps or going to bed.
  • Once the bleeding has stopped, remove all gauze and tea bags from the mouth. This will minimize the risk of choking.


These are a normal part of the healing process and, unless extreme, are of no significant concern. Early application of ice can be helpful in decreasing the amount of swelling, which peaks 72 hours after surgery. Place an ice pack to the affected side (where surgery was performed) of your face in 20-minute intervals for the first 24 to 36 hours as you feel up to it. (You do not need to do this overnight.) Keep your head elevated on additional pillows. This will also help to reduce the severity of swelling. If at any time you have concerns, please contact our office.


It is important to keep your mouth clean to reduce the risk of infection. Beginning the day after surgery, you can brush your teeth normally.

  • Avoid electric toothbrushes until cleared to do so.
  • Do not use toothpicks to remove food debris from the surgical site.
  • Do not use a Waterpik® in the surgical site.
  • After 48 hours, you can gently rinse your mouth after surgery with warm water. For those who prefer to use salt, dissolve 1 teaspoon in 8–10 ounces of water.
  • If prescribed an antibacterial mouth rinse, use as directed.


For your comfort, start with clear, cool liquids after surgery. Maintain a soft diet for the first few days and focus on the unaffected side. Do not use a straw or drink carbonated beverages for at least the first 3 days after surgery. Avoid alcohol during the first 3 days after surgery as well.


Please avoid all tobacco products for at least the first 72 hours after surgery. Nicotine adversely affects normal healing and increases your likelihood of developing healing complications.


These can include but are not limited to: a fever over 101.3, discomfort not controlled by prescribed pain medications, prolonged or excessive bleeding, or excessive swelling. Give us a call with any questions or concerns at (805) 648-5121.

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