Instructions For Care of the Mouth Following Oral Surgery

Blood Clot

After an extraction, a blood clot needs to form in the socket in order to heal.  Keep biting firmly on the gauze provided for one hour after treatment.  Then replace with clean gauze if the area is still bleeding.  Biting on a wet tea bag will also help to form a clot in the area.  Some mild bleeding following oral surgery is to be expected and can last up to 24 hours.  If bleeding persists longer, or if there is an increase in the amount of bleeding, please call our office.


A soft or liquid diet is best for the first 24-48 hours after oral surgery.  Drink plenty of water, but avoid hot liquids, which can dissolve the clot.  And it’s best to avoid alcoholic beverages and carbonated drinks.  Avoid foods that are hard or granular (eg. popcorn, rice) that could get caught in the treatment area. 

Reduce Activity

Strenuous activity following oral surgery can prolong the healing process by increasing blood-flow and dislodging the clot.  This includes any work, exercise, heavy lifting, etc.  Stationary rest is advisable for 24 hours following oral surgery.  Keep your head elevated to avoid increased blood pressure to the area.

Other Things to Avoid

  1. Smoking.  Smokers have a higher risk of complications during healing.  Avoid smoking for at least 24 hours after the surgery, but 48 hours or more would be preferable for healing.
  2. Sucking with a straw or anything that creates suction can dislodge the blood clot.
  3. Rinsing forcefully could dislodge the clot.
  4. Blowing your nose or sneezing can dislodge the clot.  Try sneezing with your mouth open if you have to sneeze.  For this reason, playing wind instruments should also be avoided. 


Some swelling following oral surgery is to be expected.  Placing an icepack on the affected side of the face is helpful during the first 8 hours following treatment.  Apply the icepack for ½ hour intervals, resting 10 minutes between each application.

Pain Management

Most extraction pain can be managed by over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Naproxen could be substituted for Ibuprofen if desired.  This should be modified depending on your health and if you are already taking any other pain medication.  If your doctor expects significant discomfort, he will prescribe pain medication, which must be taken exactly as directed.

Oral Care

On the day of oral surgery avoid brushing the teeth neighboring the site; however it is still important to maintain good oral hygiene while the site is healing.  You can resume normal oral hygiene after 24 hours, but be gentle and avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully.  Mouthwash should be avoided at this time.


If any unusual symptoms occur (such as excessive pain, swelling, fever, or prolonged/excessive bleeding) please contact our office immediately.