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Post Operative Care Instructions

After your oral surgery with us at Oral & Facial Reconstructive Surgeons of Utah, it’s important to follow some guidelines to help you heal up well. While these tips give you a general idea, your surgeon will give you personalized instructions for your specific procedure and needs.

Your comfort and wellbeing are our top priorities, and we’re here to help you through every step of your recovery.

General Care Instructions

Swelling and bruising is to be expected. Swelling may increase during first 3 days after the procedure and then subside.

You can manage the swelling by using ice for the first 24-48 hours after surgery, applying ice packs to the area for 20 minutes and removing for 20. You should also rest your head in an elevated position, use a recliner or several extra pillows in bed.


After being sedated, it’s common to have memory lapses, slower reaction time and impaired judgement. We recommend you do the following for 24 hours after sedation:

  • Rest
  • Have someone stay with you
  • Don’t drive or use motorized vehicles
  • Take the day off school or work
  • Don’t exercise or play sports
  • Don’t take responsibility for anyone who depends on you
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Don’t make important decisions or sign legal documents

Using Gauze

Gauze may be used to pack the surgical site after surgery to help control bleeding and form a clot. The gauze should be moist before biting down in it, so it won’t stick to the surgical area. Bite down firmly on the gauze for 20 to 30 minutes. The gauze should be changed every 30 minutes over the next two hours.

To keep the blog clot in place:

  • Don’t rinse or spit on surgery day
  • Don’t use straws for four days
  • Eat soft foods the first few days. If possible, don’t chew on the surgical site’s side
  • Avoid the surgical site when brushing your teeth

Dry Socket

A dry socket is when the blood clot breaks away or breaks down prematurely exposing the bone underneath. It often affects the sockets of the lower back teeth.

Dry socket symptoms include severe, persistent pain near the surgical site that is not relieved by pain medication. The pain also spreads to the chin, ear or other areas of the face.

Contact our office if you have ANY dry socket symptoms. Dry socket treatment centers around pain control and allowing the wound to heal. A medicated dressing may be placed in the socket to assist with pain control.

Pain Management

It’s normal to have pain in the surgical site and in adjacent teeth. The amount and duration are different from person to person.

Take pain medication as directed.

While you’re taking narcotic pain meds, don’t drive, operate vehicles, or drink alcohol. Side effects of prescription strength pain meds include nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, and constipation. Make sure you’re taking these meds with food or milk to help alleviate some of these symptoms and make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day.

Take the medication exactly as directed and only as long as you need to manage discomfort. Over the counter medications are also helpful to use as you transition off the prescription medications.

Long-term use of some medications can lead to dependence.

Activity and Physical Limitations

Immediately following surgery, limit physical activities to mitigate the risk of complications such as throbbing or bleeding. Refrain from engaging in strenuous exercise for a few days. Gradually reintegrate normal activities into your routine as comfort allows.

Sinus Bleeding

Some procedures in the upper jaw can cause a sinus communication and blood could drip from your nose for a few days after surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you have a sinus communication.

If you have a sinus communication, do not blow your nose for seven to 10 days. Instead, use a tissue to gently wipe away mucus.

Sneeze with your mouth open to reduce pressure in your sinuses.

Use antibiotic medication, antihistamine, nasal sprays or decongestants prescribed by your doctor. Use as instructed.

Other Notes

Drink clear fluids to help prevent dehydration.

If you smoke, don’t smoke for seven days after surgery. Smoking can delay healing and lead to dry socket.

During antibiotic use, there’s a reduced effectiveness of birth control pills. Women using oral contraceptives should us an additional means of contraception for the remainder of their menstrual cycle affected.

We’re Here to Help

Our team is committed to furnishing you with personalized instructions tailored to your specific procedure and needs. Should you have any inquiries or apprehensions during your recovery, do not hesitate to contact us.

At Oral & Facial Reconstructive Surgeons of Utah, your health and comfort are paramount, and we’re here to provide unwavering support throughout your healing journey.

Meet Our Oral Surgeons

Dr. Nathan Adams, MD, DMD, FACS

Dr. Adams is a board-certified oral & maxillofacial surgeon who received his surgical training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Adams has interests in sleep apnea, oral pathology, orthognathic surgery (correcting jaw deformities), facial trauma, dental implants, bone grafting, and office-based anesthesia.

Dr. Michael Gladwell, MD, DMD, FACS

Dr. Gladwell is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon with training from the Mayo Clinic. He holds degrees in health administration and dentistry and is a member of several professional associations. Dr. Gladwell offers a full range of oral and maxillofacial surgery services, including wisdom tooth removal, implants, and surgery for sleep apnea and facial trauma.