After Care: 

oral surgery

(typically tooth removal)



Every oral surgery procedure can be different, so not all of these instructions may apply. When in doubt, follow the instructions provided at your appointment or call your dentist for clarification.


First Hour

Have the patient bite down with a gentle but firm pressure on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, ensuring they remain in place for 40-60 minutes after the appointment. Do not change the gauze them unless the bleeding is not controlled. If active bleeding lasts for more than one hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the site for another 30-60 minutes. The gauze may be changed as necessary and damped prior to placement for comfort.


□  Local Anesthetic

Avoid eating until all feeling has returned to the area. Be aware that scatching, sucking, or biting the numb area may cause significant injury to oral tissue. Avoid hot liquids while the area is numb. Numbness can last for several hours, and is different for every patient.


Exercise Caution: Care for the surgical site

Do not disturb the surgical area on the day of surgery. Do NOT rinse or probe the area with any objects or fingers. You may brush your child's teeth gently. THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES ARE PROHIBITED: SMOKING, SUCKING THROUGH STRAWS, OR RINSING for at least 48 hours, since this can disturb healing and potentially cause complications such as dry socket or slow healing. Do not permit for overexertion for the first 24 hours after your child's procedure. Adequate rest and relaxation will promote healing and help prevent unnecessary complications.


Oozing, Bleeding, Swelling

Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal for the first 24 hours following oral surgery: It can be controlled by placing fresh gauze over the area and biting down firmly for 30-60 minutes. Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, this usually means the packs are clenched too firmly between the teeth rather than placing pressure on the surgical site. Try repositioning the pack. If bleeding persists, please call your dentist.

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 to face or cheek near the surgical area. A cold pack can be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 12-24 hours after surgery. If your child has been prescribed medicine for swelling, be sure to take it as directed.



Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You may provide your child over the counter pain medication as advised by your pediatric dentist or pediatrician. If you were given prescription for pain medication; take it as prescribed. Effects of pain medication vary widely among individuals. Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within the first six hours after anesthetic wears off, after that your need for medicine should decrease.



A healthy diet is important for healing. Eat food that can be taken with comfort while avoiding extremely hot foods. Soft, bland foods are more comfortable the first day after oral surgery. Do not eat foods that can get lodged in the socket areas (i.e. nuts, seeds, popcorn, sharp foods). Do not drink from a straw for the first 48 hours, and instead use a spoon to avoid dislodging the blood clot. Do not skip meals. If your child is diabetic, maintain normal eating habits as much as possible and follow instructions from your physician regarding insulin schedules.


Sharp Edges

If sharp edges are perceived around the surgical site, this can sometimes be the bony walls that originally supported the teeth. Sometimes small fragments of bone may work themselves out a week or two after surgery. These are not pieces of tooth, and if necessary, they can be removed by your dentist. Call our office if you are concerned.


□  Sutures (Stitches) 

Stitches may sometimes be placed at the surgical site to promote healing of your gums. Do not disturb these stitches as they are intended to promote healing and/or prevent complications with healing. These stitches should dissolve or fall out on their own within 5-7 days. 


Prescription Medications

Your dentist may have prescribed a medication after the appointment. Please read the instructions and used exactly as prescribed. Do not use a medication if your child is known to be allergic to its ingredients. If your child develop signs of an allergic reaction such as itchiness, rash or trouble breathing, discontinue the medication and call the doctor immediately. Your medication is only to be used by you as prescribed. If you feel your child is having a true medical emergency, please activate emergency medical services (i.e. 9-1-1) immediately.


□   Maintenance and Follow Up Care

Maintaining proper oral care routine and proper diet is essential to maintain both oral health and general health. In addition to proper diet and hygiene, maintaining regular dental visits promote oral health and wellness. Please follow any post-operative care recommendations made for your child. This was discussed at the conclusion of your dental appointment.


Connect with Us.

Phone: (520) 775-1245

Location: 6970 N. Oracle Road Suite 110

Tucson, AZ 85704


© 2016 by Southwest Kids Dentistry, P.L.L.C.

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