These instructions are intended as a general information and reference resource for those who have undergone oral surgery. If you have recently had a dental surgery at our Rochester, NY dental office and have a specific question, consult the instructions you were given or call us at (585) 244-3337 to confirm how best to handle your situation.

Expectations After Surgery

After your surgery, it is normal to experience:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort

These expectations apply to various oral surgery procedures, including dental implants placement, bone graft, periodontal oral surgery, gum graft, and wisdom teeth extraction. Bleeding should stop within the first day, though small amounts of blood may ooze from the site for longer. Control bleeding by pressing on the supplied gauze for 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove the gauze. If you are still bleeding, apply another piece of gauze for 15 to 20 minutes more. If you run out of gauze, us a slightly wet black tea bag.

Swelling may continue to increase for several days after your procedure, then decrease. You can help control swelling and discomfort by applying an ice pack to your cheek for ten minutes, then allowing the area to rest for ten minutes. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the day.

Discomfort will be noticeable for the first 3-5 days after your procedure. Typically, over-the-counter medication will control your discomfort. We may prescribe medication if discomfort is expected to be more significant.

Caring for the Surgical Area

Within the first hour after surgery, you may experience some bleeding. Use gauze packs to control this by applying gentle pressure for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, replace the gauze packs and apply pressure for another 30 minutes. If gauze is unavailable, a slightly wet black tea bag can help form a blood clot. 

For the first 24 hours after surgery, avoid rinsing your mouth to allow the blood clot to form undisturbed. After this period, gently rinse your mouth with warm, salty water—mix one tablespoon of salt with one cup of water—at least three times a day to keep the surgical sites clean.

These care instructions are particularly important for procedures like bone graft and gum graft, where maintaining the integrity of the surgical site is crucial.

When brushing and flossing, be very gentle around the surgical sites. Avoid the surgical area directly to prevent irritation and dislodging the blood clot, which can lead to a painful condition called dry socket. If you notice any persistent bleeding after 48 hours, please call our office immediately.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

For the first 24 hours after surgery, apply ice packs to your cheek near the surgical area for 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of rest. Repeat this cycle to help reduce swelling and numb the area. Pain and swelling should decrease significantly within 48 hours, but it is normal to feel some discomfort for up to five days after surgery. Arnica Montana 30C, a natural supplement, can be used to help reduce pain and heal post-surgery bruising. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can also help alleviate discomfort. If stronger pain medications have been prescribed, take them as directed.

These pain management techniques are effective for a range of oral surgeries, including periodontal oral surgery and dental implants placement.

Post-Surgery Dietary Guidelines

Maintaining a proper diet after oral surgery is important for recovery. For the first 24 hours after surgery, stick to foods that are soft and cold. Examples include yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and smoothies. Clear bone broth made form organic grass-fed animals is a great nutrient-rich food that can be sipped for the first few days. For at least a week after surgery, avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods that can irritate the surgical sites and disrupt the blood clot. 

Over the next few days, gradually reintroduce other soft foods into your diet. Soups, scrambled eggs, and soft pasta are good options. Be mindful of the temperature of your food; consume it warm or cold, but never hot, to avoid disturbing the surgical area.

These dietary guidelines are especially important after procedures like wisdom teeth extraction and dental implants placement.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, but avoid using a straw for the first week, as the suction can dislodge the blood clot. To help promote tissue repair and collagen formation, take 200mg of vitamin C three times a day for ten days. If you have any questions about your diet or notice any discomfort when eating, please call our office.

Oral Hygiene After Surgery

Do not brush or floss on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you should brush and floss normally, but take care around the surgical site.

If you haven’t been supplied with a prescription rinse, you should rinse your mouth with warm, salty water. Mix one tablespoon of salt with one cup of water. Rinse gently. If you have been prescribed a mouth rinse, follow the instructions on the rinse.

Proper oral hygiene is essential for all surgical procedures, including gum graft and periodontal oral surgery.

Recognizing and Preventing Dry Socket

Dry sockets can occur if the blood clot at the surgical site becomes dislodged or dissolves too early. To prevent dry sockets, avoid rinsing your mouth, drinking through a straw, smoking, or vigorous physical activity for at least 24 hours after surgery. These actions can disrupt the blood clot and delay healing.

If you notice severe pain radiating from the surgical area, bad breath, or an unpleasant taste in your mouth 48 hours after surgery, you might have a dry socket. To minimize this risk, it is crucial to follow all post-operative instructions. Applying ice packs for the first 24 hours can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

If you suspect you have a dry socket or experience unusual symptoms, please call our office immediately for further advice and treatment.


If sutures are used, they will dissolve on their own. It typically takes ten days, but you should see signs that they are dissolving as they change into a long string that slowly disappears. Do not cut the sutures or pull them out.


Take all prescribed medications as directed. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take the full course, even if you haven’t noticed any signs of infection.

Importance of Rest and Activity Restrictions

Rest is crucial for your recovery after oral surgery. Avoid strenuous activities for the first 24 hours after surgery to prevent increased bleeding and swelling. When lying down, keep your head elevated with pillows to reduce swelling.

During the initial days after surgery, limit your activities and avoid bending over or lifting heavy objects. Gentle walking is fine, but any activity that raises your heart rate significantly can disrupt the blood clot and prolong healing.

Rest is particularly important after major procedures such as bone graft and dental implants placement.

Remember to apply ice packs to your cheek near the surgical area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first day. This will help manage swelling and discomfort. If you notice any unusual symptoms or have concerns about your activity level, please call our office immediately for guidance.

Emergency Situations and When to Call

While most recoveries go smoothly, it’s important to recognize when you need professional assistance. If you experience severe pain that is not relieved by pain medications, continuous bleeding after 48 hours, or signs of infection such as fever or pus at the surgical sites, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to ensure your smooth and successful recovery.

Questions or Concerns?

We want to help you have the best recovery and results possible. If you have any additional questions or concerns, or if you are considering dental surgery in Rochester, NY, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Call us at (585) 244-3337 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.