Post-Surgical Care Instructions

Patient smiling while listening to her dentist talking.

The First Hour



The first hour after oral surgery is a crucial stage of healing. You will need to spend this time biting down on a piece of gauze we will give you or a tea bag, switching it out after 30 minutes for a clean one. If you’re thirsty, you can briefly remove the gauze to drink, but do not use a straw as it can cause more bleeding due to the negative pressure.

In fact, you shouldn’t use a straw for at least the next 48 hours as it can dislodge the blood clot and cause a painful dry socket. Similarly, be gentle while rinsing your mouth, and do not spit.


If you’re experiencing pain after the sedation wears off, we recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Please ask your dentist about the proper dosage. We can also prescribe medications for some patients. If this applies to you, follow the surgeon’s instructions.


If your mouth starts to swell, it is a completely normal side effect that many patients experience. We recommend reducing it by applying ice packs to your cheek for about 15-20 minutes at a time with a break of similar length. This will also help with pain reduction. After the first 24 hours, you should switch to heat.

Continuing Care

Is the Site Still Bleeding?

It’s normal for bleeding to continue for roughly the first 24 hours, but if it continues after that beyond some slight oozing, please call the office, as the surgeon may need to examine the surgical site. We will often use sutures that will fall out within one to three weeks. They can fall out earlier, but this is not an emergency or something that should concern you.

Food and Drinks

While the area is healing, you should avoid foods that are hard or chewy, such as nuts, popcorn, or chips. Stick to foods like yogurt, Jell-O®, soup, and apple sauce. You can even have ice cream and milkshakes as long as you avoid using a straw. After the first week, you can slowly build up to more solid foods.

When to Call the Office

If you notice anything out of the ordinary or experience sudden pain you haven’t felt before, please contact our office for further instructions. We’re also happy to answer any questions you might have throughout the healing process. So, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.


Can I Brush?

Since we want to avoid disturbing the surgical site, you should avoid brushing your teeth on the day of the procedure. Starting the next day, you can resume your oral hygiene habits, but be as gentle as possible.

Can I Smoke?

While it might be difficult for some patients to stop smoking, it’s important to do so for at least the first week after surgery. If you received dental implants, we also recommend quitting completely, as smoking can cause the restorations to fail.

Ready to See an Oral Surgeon in Merrillville?

The Aspire OMS team is here to help you on your journey from beginning to end. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Why an oral surgeon vs. dentist?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive specialized training to treat a variety of conditions affecting the head, neck, face, mouth, and jaws. Although a general dentist may perform simple tooth extractions -- more complex surgeries, such as removing wisdom teeth, are what we are specifically trained to do. Plus, we have advanced equipment to make procedures more affordable, and significantly more comfortable, for you to have the best overall experience.


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