Post-Operative Instructions

Three important things to do after surgery:

  • Elevate your head (sitting up in a recliner, propped up in bed) for 72 hours after surgery.
  • Apply ice to the affected side of the face (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off) for 24 hours.
  • Drink plenty of liquids (water, sports drinks, juices); avoid caffeine and straws.

Bleeding: Minor bleeding or blood‐tinged saliva may occur for the first 24‐48 hours. Bite on gauze for 30‐40 minutes following surgery. If bleeding continues, replace with new gauze and bite for 30 minutes.

Loss of blood clots in the surgical sites can lead to infection or dry socket. To prevent loss of blood clots:

  • Do not drink through a straw or suck on candy for one week.
  • Do not smoke for 7‐10 days following surgery.
  • Avoid forceful spitting

Swelling: Swelling is the body’s normal response to surgery and the beginning of the healing process. Swelling varies from person to person, and also depends on the procedure. Swelling increases over the first 48 hours and subsides over the next 5‐7 days.

  • Apply ice to the face for the first 24 hours to minimize swelling (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off).
  • After 24 hours, apply heat as needed for comfort.
  • Continue to keep the head elevated for 72 hours after surgery.

Pain: Medication has been prescribed according to your anticipated level of discomfort. Take pain medication before numbness from local anesthetic wears off, typically within 4 hours after surgery. Repeat every 4‐6 hours as needed.

  • Take medication with a milkshake (use a spoon – no straws!) or other beverage to avoid nausea.
  • Keep a log of all medication, noting the time and amount taken each time. So that you do not wake up in pain, set an alarm at night to continue your medication schedule.
  • Wisdom teeth extractions: Pennington will give you a prescription for ibuprofen along with your prescription for pain medication. Take the first dose of both medications together then follow the directions on the bottle.

Do not drive, operate hazardous machinery, or drink alcohol while taking pain medication.

Rinsing and Caring for Tooth Socket(s)

  • You will be given a syringe of SockIt! Gel, a medication to use immediately following the procedure. To help the socket(s) heal, use SockIt! 4‐6 times daily, until the gel is gone.
  • Do not rinse your mouth for the first 48 hours following surgery. After 48 hours, gently rinse your mouth with diluted mouthwash or warm salt water (1/2 tsp. salt in a large glass of lukewarm water) 3‐4 times daily until socket(s) have closed.
  • You may gently brush your teeth 24 hours after the procedure; use care in the open socket area(s).
  • You will also be given an empty, clear plastic syringe to fill with warm salt water or diluted mouthwash. 48 hours after surgery, you may begin using this syringe to remove trapped food from the socket(s). Use until the sockets have closed.

If the Procedure Required Stitches: Stitches will dissolve on their own, often in the first 2‐3 days.