Post-Op Instructions

Please take the time to read these instructions following your treatment as it will help you to understand what to expect following your procedure. These instructions are to serve as a general guideline for your use following surgery, however if you have questions please feel free to call our practice.

The first few hours

Immediately following your treatment you will remain numb or partially numb for up 4 hours. This will depend on the amount of anesthesia given as well as your metabolism. During this time it is advised to avoid eating as you may inflict harm on the surgical site or to your lips or tongue. It is very important to avoid “playing” with sutures or the surgical area in general with your fingers or tongue, this can cause premature loosening of sutures and dressings.

What to expect after your surgical procedure 

It is common to have:

  • Moderate (sometimes severe) discomfort for up to 72 hours following treatment.
  • Bleeding that may continue for several hours following treatment. If you take medications which thin the blood such as Coumadin, warfarin, aspirin, ibuprofen or certain supplements like those high in Omega-3 you are more likely to have slightly more swelling, bleeding, bruising and discomfort.
  • Small amounts of blood mixed with saliva that will often look like a large volume of fluid. Gentle pressure with gauze will usually help stop this bleeding. If you have run out of gauze a dry tea bag can also be used as the caffeine will often help slow bleeding.
  • You may have jaw soreness as a result of keeping your mouth open for an extended period of time. 
  • Sensitivity of teeth can be as a result of biting pressure, temperature (hot/cold) or oral appliances that have been fabricated for you. Most of the time, pain or sensitivity following treatment is associated with plaque accumulation so if you have been instructed, maintain gentle plaque control measures in the area where treatment was completed.
  • For certain types of procedures the development of swelling following surgery is unavoidable. Those procedures lasting less than fifteen minutes are not usually associated with swelling. Those lasting longer may have minor to significant swelling that persists for three days or more. As long as you are not feverish (above 102 degrees for 24 hours) there is generally no need for concern.


It is extremely important that you avoid cigarette smoking following treatment. Cigarette smoke inhibits normal healing and can result in treatment failure. Following the manipulation of gum tissue, jaw bone and teeth, smoking will constrict the capillaries that are necessary for the delivery of vital nourishment following surgery. The most critical period of time is the first three days following treatment and one week if a surgery 30 minutes or longer was performed.

Following your procedure

Gentle rinsing with cold salt water for the first day following treatment and warm salt water thereafter can be completed up to five times a day. This does not mean rinsing vigorously, rather gentle head movements in either direction.

Swelling can be minimized by the application of cold packs to the outside of the face where surgery was completed. Ice water can also be held in the mouth (if tolerable) to help minimize swelling.

If sutures or a dressing has been placed they will start to exfoliate after five days and any remaining sutures will be removed at your first post operative visit.

If an antibiotic has been prescribed use your antibiotic as directed on the bottle. If you develop itchy/scratchy skin or have trouble breathing please discontinue the use of the antibiotic and contact our practice. If the itching persists please start taking oral Benadryl and contact your physician. Some gastric upset is common with the use of antibiotics, however if you feel severe stomach upset, with frequent (5+ times daily) diarrhea, please contact our practice as a change in medication may be required.

Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen are excellent in maintaining a low level of inflammation following treatment, reducing soreness in jaw muscles and providing pain control following treatment. Dr. Volz recommends the use of Ibuprofen either prescription (if prescribed) or over the counter (Tylenol can be used interchangeably) for at least three days following treatment and longer if discomfort, swelling or pain persists.

In summary, use your best judgment following your treatment. It is not advisable to exercise vigorously for the first few days after treatment. Although most patients experience minimal discomfort following treatment these guidelines should help to instruct you on what to expect following treatment. As always please feel free to contact our office with any additional questions.