Post Operative Instructions

Instructions Following Oral Surgery


Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours after surgery.  This may disturb the blood clot, which is necessary for healing.  The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 tsp. to 8 oz. water).  Rinsing after meals is important to keep food particles out of the extraction site, but remember not to rinse your mouth vigorously.  Avoid using mouth rinses.

The Blood Clot

After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket.  This clot is an important part of the normal healing process.  Some activities create suction in the mouth, which could dislodge the clot and delay healing. You should therefore, avoid activities that might disturb the clot.  Here is how to protect it:

  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not rinse your mouth vigorously.
  • Do not drink through a straw for 24 hours.
  • Do not use alcoholic or carbonated beverages or cough syrups for 24 hours.


Swelling after an extraction is not uncommon.  Reduce swelling and pain by applying a cold compress to the face for 15 minutes, then leave off for 15 minutes for six to eight hours.


Drink lots of liquids and eat soft, nutritious foods.  Chew food on the opposite side of the extraction site.


Some bleeding is expected for two to three days after an extraction.  In the case of excess or prolonged bleeding, pinch off any loose clot.  Place a damp roll of gauze or a tea bag moistened in warm water directly over the socket.  Bite on the gauze with gentle, firm pressure for 30 minutes.  Repeat two to three times if necessary.  If you have bleeding you cannot control, excessive swelling, or uncontrollable pain, call the doctor at one of the numbers listed below.


The greatest amount of discomfort is in the first 6 to 8 hours after surgery.  Use medication only as directed.  If the medication prescribe does not seem to work for you, do not increase the dosage.  If you have prolonged, severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, please contact our office immediately.

Patient Instructions Following Scaling and Root Planning

Following scaling and root planning you can expect to notice less redness, less bleeding, and less swelling of your gum tissue.  Your gum health must be maintained with proper home care and regular professional care.


Discomfort or pain should not be acute and should subside in a few hours to a few days.  Discomfort immediately after treatment is usually associated with slight throbbing or aching and occasionally may be uncomfortable.  This discomfort usually subsides in about four hours.  Any discomfort due to brushing should get better in one to several days. If a local anesthetic was used avoid chewing foods until feeling returns to avoid injury to the tongue or checks.  Tylenol or Ibuprofen should be taken as needed to reduce discomfort.

Tooth Sensitivity

Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and /or sweets.  The sensitivity to temperature may be intense the first several days and usually diminishes quickly.  You may try any of the sensitive teeth toothpaste products that are available.


Some slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings but the bleeding should steadily decrease after two or three days.


Root surface may be more exposed as the swelling of the inflamed gum tissue goes away.  This may result in more space between teeth.

Instructions to Minimize Symptoms

Diet/Eating – If extensive root planning was performed, chewing hard foods, such as meat or raw vegetables may be uncomfortable; this should last no longer than a few days.  A diet of a softer consistency would be advised until chewing becomes more comfortable.

Physical Therapy for Tempromandibular Disorders (TMD)

The purpose of this therapy is to influence your lower jaw to function freely and without pain.  Many situations cause the malfunction of your lower jaw.  Examples are:  accidents, surgery, developmental defects, peculiar oral habits, many fillings placed over numerous years, naturally occurring malocclusion (poor bite), orthodontics, psychological stress, clenching or bruxing of teeth, and other conditions. The following self-administered treatment will usually relax the jaw muscles considerably if you are consistent in carrying out the exercises.  Approximately 80% of patients with muscular jaw problems feel better when doing this therapy, but some patients feel worse. Please tell us it this treatment does not help you. Even if you feel better after doing exercises, additional treatment may be necessary. These exercises should be accomplished one time per day (unless directed otherwise). A convenient time for the exercises may be before bedtime.  If this time is not acceptable for you please select another convenient and relaxed time.


Heat: Apply heating pad, hot wash cloth, hot water bottle, or other heat source to the affected areas for 5 minutes before beginning exercises.

Exercises: Carry out the following exercises for 1 minute each (a total of 5 minutes).

  1. Open-close – Place fist under front of jaw to resist opening movement.  Do not cause pain.  Be gentle.  Open and close jaw 30 times in one minute.
  2. Forward – Move jaw forward and back with fist on front of chin.
  3. Right – Move jaw to right with fist on right front of chin to resist movement.
  4. Left – Move jaw to left with fist on left of front of chin to resist movement.
  5. Neck turn – Sit up very straight.  Rotate head as far right as possible and gently force turn once every 2 seconds for 20 seconds.  Turn head to left and repeat.

Heat: Apply heat for another five minutes.

Further treatment such as a plastic bite splint to assist in making your bite in the correct position (occlusal splint), or slight, careful trimming of teeth and fillings to make you teeth and jaws come together correctly (occlusal equilibration), may be needed to assist in your treatment.

Endodontic (Root Canal) Treatment

The infection that was present in your tooth has been eliminated.  The canal or canals have been sealed to prevent re-infection.  Nature must now have time to repair the damage that the original infection produced.

The tooth may be slightly tender for several days (up to two or three weeks).  To help reduce the tenderness, rinse your mouth with warm salt water, (1/2 tsp. to 8 oz. of warm water), the warmer the better.  Repeat several times each day; the more rinsing the better, until all the tenderness is gone.

Do not chew on the tooth until all of the tenderness is gone.

Although the root or roots are permanently sealed, the outer surface is weakened.  A permanent restoration (crown) will give the tooth more protection. Most teeth which have been treated with root canal therapy require this additional protection.