Post-operative Instructions

These instructions apply to the surgical procedure just completed. They are designed to help you minimize post-surgical discomfort and inform you of any situation that may require special attention.

Pain Medications

It is not unusual to have discomfort for at least the first week following your surgical procedure. You will be given a prescription for medication to help you tolerate the post-surgical recovery period. Please take your medications as directed. It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

As an alternative to prescription medications (i.e. narcotics such as Tylenol #3 and Vicodin/Norco), studies have shown taking a combination of over-the-counter Ibuprofen and Tylenol to be more effective at comprehensive pain relief. If you can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) you may take the combination in either of the following dosages: 400 mg of Ibuprofen and 2 Regular Strength Tylenol or  400 mg of Ibuprofen and 1 Extra Strength Tylenol, every 6 hours as needed.

Note: When taking any prescribed medication containing Acetaminophen (Tylenol), i.e.; Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicoden or Tylenol with Codeine, you should not take additional Tylenol so as not to exceed the safety level of Acetaminophen. Please contact the office with any questions you may have.


Please alert the office to any allergies or sensitivities that you might have to antibiotics. An antibiotic may be prescribed for you to take before and following your surgical procedure. Take as directed until gone. It is advisable not to take these medications on an empty stomach, as nausea may result. For women taking birth control pills, be advised that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness.


Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and will typically increase 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, it is important to sip on ice-cold water for the first 24-hours after surgery and place an ice pack gently over the outside cheek area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Continue using ice and sipping cold water/liquids for 2-3 days following the procedure as often as possible.


A small amount of bleeding is normal. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:

  • Do not rinse your mouth.
  • Elevate your head when lying down.
  • Apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary.
  • Enclose a moistened black tea bag in a gauze square and apply continuous pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Call the office if bleeding persists.


Sometimes, a periodontal dressing (which acts as a bandage) is placed over the surgical site to aid in healing, protect the surgical site and help reduce discomfort. If the dressing comes off or is uncomfortable, please call the office for direction.


Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid hot foods and liquids for approximately 24 hours following the surgery so to help limit excessive swelling. A soft diet is recommended. Foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and fruits (non-citrus) are more easily eaten. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing.


Do not smoke for at least 2 weeks following your surgical procedure. It will significantly slow healing and can compromise results.


Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.


Do not rinse for the first 48 hours. After that, you may use warm saltwater (mix 1 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of salt). Repeat as necessary to help keep the dressing and area of the surgery clean.


Do not brush the surgical site. It is important to brush the rest of the mouth as normal. A clean mouth is critical for good healing.

Suture Removal

You may notice increased discomfort 3-4 days after the surgical procedure. As the tissues begin to heal, they may pull against the sutures and dressing. You may choose to take some form of pain medication one hour prior to your suture removal appointment to minimize tenderness. If you are a patient for whom Antibiotic Pre-Medication is required, take the prescribed antibiotics 1 hour prior to your suture removal appointment.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at Poway Office Phone Number 858-485-1180.