Looking After Yourself Following Oral Surgery

Pain: The local anaesthetic given to you before surgery should ensure there is no pain immediately after the operation. It should take 3 to 4 hours for sensation to slowly return. Care should be taken during this period to avoid biting the lip or tongue.

Beyond that period, pain tends to be worse on the 2nd or 3rd day but should gradually improve over a period of 7 to 10 days. Painkillers such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen are usually adequate to control the pain.

If you experience a sudden increase in pain after a few days, this may indicate infection and you should contact the practice as soon as possible.

Swelling: Swelling is common after surgery has been carried out in the jaw and usually reaches its maximum some 2 to 3 days after surgery. Like pain, swelling should disappear 7 to 10 days after surgery. Bruising of the face can occur occasionally and can take up to 2 weeks to disappear.

Bleeding: By the time you leave the practice, bleeding should be minimal, but blood stained saliva is to be expected for up to 48 hours after the operation. Do not rinse your mouth for the first day and this may disturb the freshly formed blood clot and cause bleeding. If persistent bleeding does occur, roll up a piece of gauze and place it over the wound and bite firmly over a period of at least 15 minutes.

Oral Hygiene: The day after the operation, you can use a hot salt-water mouth bath. The water should be as warm as possible and a spoonful of salt added. Take a mouthful and hold it in your mouth gently bathing the affected area for a couple of minutes before spitting out. Repeat this 4 times daily. This can help healing.

Keep your teeth clean with gentle tooth brushing if possible. A tooth brush can be softened under a hot tap. Chlorhexidine (Corsodyl) mouthwash will help to reduce plaque during the period when tooth brushing is difficult.

Diet: Your ability to fully open your mouth may be restricted for about a week. However, eating semi- solid food should be possible. Using your discretion, you should be able to gradually start eating normally.

Stitches: If you have stitches (sutures) in your mouth, these should dissolve and drop out after a period of 7 to 10 days.

Medication: In some cases, antibiotics may be required after the operation and these will be prescribed.  Advice will be given regarding the use of painkillers.

Follow-up: If a follow- up appointment is needed, this is usually two weeks after the surgery.

Download this page as a fact-sheet for printing – Looking After Yourself Following Oral Surgery (PDF file)

Make an appointment/discuss your problem:If you would like to discuss your problem in confidence with our dentist Andy Pollard, please call 01422 316 315, or visit our make an appointment page:

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Sowerby Bridge,
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HX6 2AG
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