Oral Surgery Patient Care

General Advice

For normal healing, it is essential that only a minimum amount of disturbance be created within the mouth after tooth extraction or surgery. The blood clot in the socket must be preserved. Most bleeding will stop in 30 minutes with a small amount of bleeding over the next 12 hours, depending on the extent of surgery. It is normal for saliva to be slightly streaked with blood for about one day.


  • Pressure will stop most bleeding. Bundle 2-3 pieces of gauze and place it on the surgical site. Bite down on the gauze or hold it down tight with your finger. Hold for at least 20 minutes before lifting to check the site for more bleeding. Keep holding until the bleeding stops.
  • Use ice packs on your face to prevent swelling. Hold the ice pack for 15 minutes, then take a 15 minute break. Do this over 5-6 hours. You can also try holding cold water in your mouth.
  • Do not use any mouthwash for 48 hours. You may drink liquids and eat, but do it carefully so you don’t interfere with the operated area. Do not suck from a straw because this will dislodge the blood clot.
  • The day after your surgery, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Rinse after each time you eat so you can avoid getting food stuck in the surgical site.
  • Do not smoke for the first 48 hours after surgery. Smoking increases the chance of clot breakdown.
  • Antibiotics should be taken until finished. Pain medication should be taken when you need it. If you have a reaction to these medications, please let me know. (Stomach upset is a common symptom associated with some of these medications and taking the medications with a small amount of food often helps).
  • Limit your physical activity for 24 hours after surgery e.g. no heavy lifting, or running.
  • Eat soft foods.