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Post-Operative Instructions: After General Anesthesia


To ensure the safety of patients who have been sedated, do not allow them to move about unassisted. Most surgery patients are unfamiliar with what normal post-operative recovery is and what is unusual. These instructions and guidelines will ensure your comfort and assist your healing process. If you have any questions regarding your post-operative procedure, please contact our office.

Caring for your mouth is important for proper healing. To assist you in your recovery, Beacon Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons provides a complete post-operative kit for your convenience. Your kit will contain gauze packs, saline rinse packets, a soothing Beacon Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons lip balm, and a coupon for a tasty treat.

Most surgery patients are unfamiliar with what normal post-operative recovery is and what is unusual. Here are a few things to look for:


Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, try repositioning fresh packs to allow you to place firm pressure over the area. Always hold pressure for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time. If bleeding persists, you may substitute a tea bag for the gauze. Wet the tea bag with hot water, squeeze it damp-dry and wrap it in a moist gauze. Apply pressure over the surgical area for 45 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office. Gauze will look light pink, spotted, or rusty colored when bleeding is controlled. When bleeding is controlled, gauze may be left out.


Often, there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize this by using a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 12 hours after surgery.


In nearly all cases, if you experience nausea, it is most likely from your prescribed narcotic pain medication. Allow the nausea to subside and take a smaller dose at your next interval. Often, breaking the tablet in half is sufficient to control pain without nausea. If nausea persists, please call our office.


Take out gauze packs while eating. Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Avoid extremely hot foods. Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., that may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. It is important not to skip meals! If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. Do not use a straw, spit, or suck on anything on the day of surgery. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible. Follow instructions from us or your physician regarding your insulin schedule.

Additional Instructions Following Surgery:

Use Caution

Do not disturb the surgical area today. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects or your fingers. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since it is detrimental to healing.


Begin your normal hygiene routine the day after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort. If you use a mechanical toothbrush, feel free to use it as you would a manual toothbrush.


If you were given an irrigating syringe, start using it the fifth day after surgery to keep sockets clean. Mix one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a tall glass of warm water. Fill the syringe with the warm salt water and irrigate any open sockets gently, especially after eating.

Sharp Edges

If you feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with your tongue, it is probably the bony walls which originally supported the teeth. Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery. They are not pieces of tooth, but if they are bothersome, we will remove them. Please call the office if you are concerned.

Dry Sockets

Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first 3 days of surgery are usually the most uncomfortable, and there is some degree of swelling and stiffness. From the third day on, GRADUAL, STEADY IMPROVEMENT should mark the remainder of your post-operative course. If there is a noticeable, distinct, persistent throbbing pain in the jaw that arises after the 4th day, please call our office. We would like the opportunity to help alleviate any discomfort.

If a denture or partial has been delivered

Your doctor will either instruct you to:

Wear your denture or partial until your adjustment appointment with your dentist. If absolutely necessary, you may remove your denture(s) briefly to rinse your mouth. Your denture should then be immediately replaced, or;

Have your denture or partially adjusted by your dentist before you wear it.

If you had an IV and notice redness, pain, a red streak, swelling, heat to the touch, or a hardened area where the IV was removed, you should apply a heating pad or a warm, moist towel to the area. If you do not notice improvement within 24 hours, please call our office.

We Are Here To Help

Please contact our office if you have any questions or issues with these instructions.

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