Post-Operative Instructions

video overview (see below for detailed instructions)


Slight bleeding may continue for 24-48 hours. This is not unusual and is no cause for alarm. Do not rinse vigorously in the first few hours as this may disrupt the coagulation process. The ice pack provided should be held in place continuously for 30 minutes following the surgery. We recommend repeating this 2 to 3 times later that day. 

If excessive bleeding occurs, take a moist piece of 2×2 gauze or gauze soaked in a strong tea solution (a tea bag will also work) and apply constant, firm pressure over the bleeding area for 10 minutes. 

If you are still concerned about bleeding after following these instructions, please call our office. 

Swelling and Bruising:

You may experience some swelling following surgery and it often takes 3 days before it reaches a maximum. Bruising may also occur.  To help decrease this, ice packs can be applied outside of the face over the area of surgery, 10 minutes at a time 4-5 times throughout the day. Ice cubes in a plastic bag or a bag of frozen vegetables work well as an ice pack. 

Discomfort and Medications:

The amount of pain or discomfort varies from patient to patient. The medication given to you must be used as prescribed and should control your pain. Do not be alarmed if you need to take the medication for several days. If pain is not controlled with the medications, please call our office. 
If you have minimal pain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs work very well. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is to be taken until finished. The local anesthetic will wear off within 1 to 4 hours following surgery. It is important to take your pain medication prior to discomfort. It is also important to eat prior to taking pain medication and to drink plenty of fluids. Not eating can cause nausea and vomiting.


All female patients utilizing birth control pills, please be advised that if the doctor prescribes the use of antibiotics, an alternative form of birth control must be utilized during that period of time.

Oral Hygiene:

Avoid brushing the surgical site for 1 week, but
remember that the remainder of your mouth should remain clean.

After the first week, begin gentle tooth brushing with a soft
toothbrush in the surgical area. Brush only the teeth and do not brush the gum area. Discomfort is minimized by softening the bristles of your brush under hot water. Flossing may be resumed after 7 days.

Remember, for the best healing the area must be plaque-free.

If prescribed: start using the Peridex rinse the night of surgery then rinse twice a day for 30 seconds for 7 days after surgery.

A salt-water rinse (1/2 tsp of salt & warm water) can be used 3-4 times a day to reduce soreness.

Avoid mechanical toothbrushes (i.e. Sonicare, Braun) for 4 weeks after surgery. Your doctor may suggest resuming its use depending on the type of surgery and the appearance of the area at your follow-up visit.


Sutures (“stitches”) are used and are selected based on the type of surgical procedure completed. Some sutures are resorbable (dissolvable) and may come out a few days following surgery. Do not be alarmed by this.

Periodontal Dressing:

You may have a plastic-like material, a periodontal pack, around your teeth following surgery. This acts as an oral bandage. It may come off after a few days, which is not a problem. If it remains in place, we will remove it at your post-operative appointment. You can brush this area gently to keep it clean.


Maintaining an adequate diet after surgery is essential. You may eat the foods you desire, but it is easier to favor soft foods that can be eaten on the opposite side of the mouth.

Avoid hard, chewy or spicy foods. Citric acids (orange and grape- fruit juice) may sting. Foods with small seeds should be avoided. Cold soft foods like ice cream, Jell-O, pudding, yogurt and milkshakes are ideal foods during the first 36 hours. Anything hot can make the surgical site bleed. Food supplements such as Ensure, Instant Breakfast, Nutrament, Metrical or Sego are also recommended. Warmer temperature foods are fine after 36 hours.

Fluid intake is important. Try to drink 8 glasses per day. 
Avoid the use of straws, smoking, spitting or vigorous rinsing after surgery. Concentrated alcoholic beverages and smoking should be avoided for the first few days.

Remember, you will do better if you continue to eat a balanced diet.

If your questions have not been answered or you have concerns that need our attention, then please do not hesitate to call us.

Miscellaneous Topics:

  1. If you had soft tissue grafting (“gum grafts”) completed, it is normal for the appearance to change colors during the first week. The graft may appear white and then red. Do not judge its success during the first 10 days but let us evaluate the graft at your post-operation. 

  2. Following surgery it is common for discomfort to subside on day 2 and increase again on day 3. This may continue for several more days. Please continue to take the prescribed pain medications as needed. 

  3. Swelling and bruising occurs during the first 3 days and peaks on day 3. If swelling increases after the 3rd day, please contact our office, this may be an infection. 

  4. Get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity for a few days. 
If you are a smoker, refrain from smoking for a minimum of 48 hours. Smoking can diminish the success of your surgery.