After Minor Surgery

Printable Instructions

Please follow these instructions after a surgery to help promote healing, prevent complications and make yourself comfortable. You should be feeling better in about 2-5 days.

Important Information

  • Sutures are dissolvable and come out about 3-5 days after surgery
  • Don’t smoke after surgery. It slows healing
  • Make sure to salt water rinse six times a day


A gauze pack was placed on the surgical site(s) to limit bleeding and help a blood clot form. Gauze is only needed if there is active bleeding, which typically lasts about 2-3 hours. Change the gauze every 30 minutes by folding it into a square, moistening with clean water, placing it over the wound and biting down with firm pressure. Keep doing this until active bleeding stops; about 2-3 hours. Don’t chew on the pack. Gauze will always have some blood on it, but is no longer needed if active bleeding has stopped.  If heavy bleeding continues after 4-5 hours, please call the office for assistance.


If you were given prescription medications, start taking them the day of your procedure, unless otherwise instructed. Use ibuprofen or another NSAID as your primary pain controller for the first 3 days every six hours. This will help with pain and swelling. Don’t take it if you are allergic or your doctor says otherwise. Narcotic pain medications are optional and only recommended for severe pain. It is okay to take NSAID’s and narcotics at the same time. If you were prescribed antibiotics, start them right away and finish all of them to prevent infection and promote healing. When taking antibiotics, please use probiotics to avoid stomach and intestine problems.


The length of time you experience numbness varies, depending on the type of local anesthetic you received. While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue. The numbness should wear off in about 24 hours. If you’ve had IV sedation, walk with some assistance for the first 12 -18 hours to avoid falls and no driving for 24 hours.


Swelling is expected after surgery and peaks in about 3 days, then slowly gets better for about 7-10 days. Sometimes it’s hard to open your mouth fully during this time. This is all normal and should get better. To help reduce swelling and pain, apply an ice pack immediately after surgery on your face/jaw —30 minutes on and 30 minutes off—for 24-48 hours. When using an ice pack, cover it with a soft cloth to avoid skin irritation. Also sleep with your head elevated about 30 degrees (2-3 pillows) for the first two nights after surgery. After 72 hours, ice isn’t helpful anymore.

Oral Hygiene/Wound Care

Starting the night of surgery, rinse your mouth with warm salt water six times a day, especially after meals. Do this for 7 days or longer.  To make, mix 8oz. of warm water with ½ teaspoon of salt or use a disposable water bottle. Brushing and flossing is okay, but avoid the surgical areas. Refrain from smoking as this will delay healing and lead to complications. The sutures are dissolvable and will come out on their own about 2-6 days after surgery. Take is easy after surgery and avoid exercise and strenuous activities for about 3 days.


After surgery, begin drinking clear liquids first, to make sure your stomach is settled, then progress to softer foods as tolerated. It usually takes about 4-5 days to return to a normal diet, but really varies depending on surgery. Avoid hot liquids until the numbness wears off, chewing over your surgical site and straws for the first 72 hours. Also void alcoholic beverages for the first 3 days. If you are troubled by nausea and vomiting, call our office for advice.

Food suggestions:

Soups – cooled


Cottage Cheese

Yogurt or Ice Cream


Potato – mashed or baked

Macaroni and Cheese


Drinks (No Straws!)
Fruit Juice: apple or grape


Milk shakes

Iced tea



Protein Drinks


If any of the following occur, please notify our office:

  • Uncontrolled pain or if pain persists after 3 days which isn’t getting better
  • Severe bleeding
  • Fever over 101.5 F
  • New swelling and pain that starts after 4 days
  • Any irritation at the IV site
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

Questions or Concerns

We can be reached 24 hours a day and seven days a week at Oral Surgery Office in Salem office Phone Number 503-581-0223.