Extractions / Surgery Post-Op Care

Surgery post-operative care is important following oral surgery and recovery may be delayed if this care is neglected. Some swelling, stiffness, oozing of blood and discomfort is expected after surgery. It is helpful to have the patient observed by a responsible adult for the duration of the day of the surgery. The following includes our post-operative instructions.


The gauze that was placed post- surgery should be left in place until the bleeding subsides- usually 30 minutes and up to 2 hours- with gentle pressure applied. Some oozing is to be expected. Do not sleep on a white pillowcase following surgery. If excessive bleeding is noticed, this is not normal. Most often, however, this can be controlled by the use of clean gauze placed directly over the surgical site and held with firm pressure for approximately 1 hour until the bleeding is controlled. If bleeding continues, call the office at any time (303)477-7776.


If it is necessary, you will be provided with a prescription for medication. This can be filled at any pharmacy and should be used as directed. Pain may be expected soon after the surgery and will reach its maximum during the first few hours. It is recommended that the prescription be started approximately 1-2 hours after the surgery and continued as directed.
If no prescription pain medication is prescribed, 600 mg of Ibuprofen or Tylenol are great for dental pain. It is recommended to start the pain medication before the anesthesia wears off to avoid discomfort. The pain medication should be continued for the next 24-48 hours or as needed.


If nausea is encountered in the immediate post-operative period, it is often increased by taking the pain medication. Remember not to take the pain medication without something in your stomach. The post-operative nausea may be relieved by taking 1oz. of a carbonated drink such as Ginger Ale every hour for 5-6 hours. This can be followed with mild tea, broth, and soft foods before resuming your regular diet.


Swelling and stiffness are to be expected. This swelling may increase over the first two days, and then it should start to subside. Swelling can be somewhat controlled by the use of ice for the first 12-24 hours by applying it for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.


Nourishment should not be neglected. On the day of surgery, a light diet is recommended (instant breakfast, Jell-O, soups, shakes, etc.). The following day, a soft diet to a regular diet as tolerated may be started. The patient should not use a straw for several, since this may dislodge the blood clot.


Depending on the nature of the surgery which was performed and the nature of the person, some discoloration on 

the face may be seen for 3-5 days after the surgery. If this happens, do not be alarmed.

Oral Hygiene:

Rinsing, spitting, and tooth brushing should be avoided on the day of surgery. Starting on the day after surgery, frequent gentle rinsing with mild, warm salt water is encouraged. Brushing should also be resumed, being careful to avoid the surgical site for the first two days. Good oral hygiene is important to normal wound healing. Avoid heavy spitting as it can disrupt the clot.


Activities for the first 24 hours should be minimal. Rest quietly with your head elevated. Smoking should be discontinued for at least 3 days. Two to three days’ rest is recommended and subsequently resuming activities as they are tolerated. Vigorous physical activities and sports should not be resumed until the surgical areas are comfortable, swelling is resolved, and a normal diet is possible.


Many times the roots of the lower teeth are adjacent to the nerve in the lower jaw. When the tooth is removed, the nerve may be slightly disturbed which may cause numbness of your chin, lower lip, and your lower teeth on that side. No one can determine exactly how long this will remain, but rarely is it permanent.

Uncommon Problems:

Many people fear the possibility of a dry socket, which is a very unusual complication. If you have pain that is not relieved by the pain medication or aspirin, this may be the case. Pain in the ear, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty opening and closing the jaws are symptoms which can occur with varying frequency, and usually are not significant. Swelling at a later date is uncommon, but if the swelling increases after 5-7 days, please contact our office at (303)477-7776.


If there is any difficulty in breathing, fever, excessive bleeding or any other disturbing problems following the surgery, you should call the office immediately or go to the emergency room.

Women please note: Some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your pharmacist.