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Post-Op Instructions – St. Louis, MO

General Aftercare Steps for Oral Surgery Procedures

Here are some easy post-op instructions to ensure you have a safe, comfortable, and effective recovery after oral surgery:


If bleeding is occurring, keep pressure over the extractions site with gauze for 45 minutes. If the bleeding persists, place a fresh piece of gauze over the site of surgery and bite to apply pressure. Repeating this in 45-minute increments will curb bleeding, but it’s normal for saliva to be pink or reddish in the following days after surgery.


You should take pain medication and antibiotics exactly as instructed by Dr. Moreland. Your first dose can be taken with a clear liquid, but after, you should always drink water and eat something before taking medication. Your second dose should be taken as soon as you begin to feel discomfort—you can eat soup, smoothies, milkshakes, etc.


Avoid smoking for at least 48 hours following your surgery. Tobacco products like cigarettes actually slow down your healing process and have the potential to cause infection.

Oral Rinsing

Avoid rinsing for a minimum of 6 hours after your oral surgery. Then, beginning the day after surgery, gently rinse with mouthwash several times a day. This should be done especially once you’ve finished eating to clean your mouth.


On the day of your surgery, you should have a liquid diet only. It’s important that you drink fluid regularly in the days following your surgery. Juices, malts, soup, and more are great options to keep you full on liquids. You can start this diet 3 hours after your oral surgery. Then after 48 hours, you can begin to eat soft foods. Additionally, avoid drinking alcohol during the first 24 hours and as long as you’re taking pain medication.

Ice Packs

Use ice packs or cold compresses for the first 48 hours after surgery to reduce swelling. If there is still swelling or bruising on the third day after surgery, switch to heating pads or moist heat. You can use a heating pad for 30-minute intervals, 3 to 4 times a day.

Dental Emergencies

If any pain or discomfort occurs that feels abnormal, contact Dr. Moreland right away. He will carefully examine your smile, and provide treatment if necessary, avoiding complications that may occur from surgery. You should feel progressively better in the 3 to 4 days after surgery but call our office if you notice increasing pain.

On the Day of Oral Surgery


Man with thumbs up during oral surgeon appointment

Bleeding is unavoidable on the day of surgery, but you can use sterilized gauze sponges to ease this issue. Apply steady pressure for about an hour and remove the gauze. If the bleeding continues, reapply new gauze and repeat until bleeding stops. However, it’s regular to notice blood in your saliva for the first few days.


Start taking antibiotics 4 hours after your surgery and once you’ve had your first liquid meal. This medication should be taken until the entire prescription is gone. For painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine, follow Dr. Moreland’s instructions to reduce your pain and swelling. If you can achieve pain relief with the anti-inflammatory, you may not need narcotics to manage discomfort.


Use a cold compress continuously for 36 hours after your surgery. This will help numb pain but it also eases swelling that can occur at the affected site.


You can start your liquid diet 3 hours after your surgery, continuing it for 48 hours. While avoiding eating can be difficult, it’s important that you keep up with a high fluid intake for the first few days.

Oral Rinsing

You can start to rinse 6 hours after your surgery with a half Chloraseptic and half water mix. Rinse after meals and before bedtime to prevent infection and keep the affected areas healthy.

The Day After Oral Surgery

Man with brown hair resting in bed

In your first day after surgery, follow these steps:

  • Medications: Take any medication you have as directed, continuing from the day before.
  • Ice packs: Use ice packs throughout the day but discontinue when it’s time for bed. However, keep in mind that it’s normal to experience increased swelling on the day after surgery.
  • Diet: Continue your liquid diet.
  • Brushing: You can go back to brushing your teeth but be sure to avoid any surgical sites to let them heal properly.

The 2nd Day After Oral Surgery

Woman looking at her teeth in the mirror
  • Medications: Antibiotics should still be taken but use pain medication as needed.
  • Ice packs: Do not use ice packs on the second day after surgery.
  • Diet: You can start to eat soft foods like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and other items of the same consistency.

The 3rd Day After Oral Surgery

Woman smiling with blue background
  • Medications: Continue to take your antibiotics as instructed. However, you can stop taking the anti-inflammatory medication unless needed for relief. Pain medication should only be taken if you’re still in pain after the anti-inflammatory.
  • Heat: If symptoms like swelling, stiffness, or bruising occurs, apply a heating pad or moist heat to the area for 3 to 4 times a day. Each session should last about 20 to 30 minutes and your symptoms should subside after a few days.
  • Diet: You can resume your regular diet but be careful about eating hard or sharp items.

If you have any questions about your post-operative instructions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today!