Looking after an extraction or surgical site

After a surgical procedure you can expect the following:

  • Some bleeding/oozing from the surgical site
  • Bruising of the adjacent soft tissue
  • Swelling occurs as part of the normal healing process reaching its maximum three days after the surgery, and then it tends to subside
  • Some discomfort after the local anaesthetic wears off.  You will be advised which pain killer/s will be best to take after the procedure.  Be sure to follow the recommendations with regards to the dose and frequency of the medication prescribed.  Ensure that we know all the medications you are regularly taking, if any, to ensure that minimum interaction occurs between them and the safe administration of the drugs prescribed.
  • You may have stitches following your surgical procedure.  The type of stitches we use in the practice is absorbable.  They generally fall out within 5-7 days. Therefore there is no need to book an appointment especially for their removal. However, depending on the surgical procedure you had, you may be given a review appointment to check the progress of healing at the site of surgery.

Some oozing from the surgical site is common in the first 24 hours.  If the oozing seems heavy, place a folded piece of gauze or tissue onto the site and bite down firmly for 20 minutes.  Repeat this procedure if the bleeding continues.  This action will generally reduce and stop the bleeding, however, if it doesn’t please contact us. 

Once the feeling of numbness of the local anaesthetic subsides and your normal sensation returns you can eat and drink.

DO NOT have hot drinks whilst the numbness sensation is present as you would risk having a burn.

DO NOT drink liquids through a straw as it may cause early dislodgment of the blood clot formed and restart bleeding from the surgical site.

DO NOT eat whilst numb as you may risk biting your lip or cheek leading to a traumatic ulcer.

You can brush your teeth on the day of the surgery, however, be careful not to dislodge the blood clot formed or disturb any stitches places.  DO NOT rinse your mouth vigorously and avoid the surgical site whilst brushing.  After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt in a glass of water) or Chlorhexidine® mouthwash up to three times a day, to ensure the surgical site is kept clean whilst healing.  Depending on how extensive the surgery was, this can be continued for a week.

No.  Smoking of any kind after oral surgery interferes with the normal healing process and can increase your chance of developing

  • Infections


  • Dry socket after a tooth extraction:  This is when the blood clot in the mouth protecting your bone from irritation by saliva and bacteria in your mouth is lost prematurely.  This usually occurs 3-4 days after surgery.  This can cause pain in your jaw.  If you suspect a dry socket, you can book a review appointment at the practice for a simple treatment to resolve this condition. 


  • Failure of osseintegration of an implant. 

You can resume light activities as soon as you feel up to it.  It is best to limit any strenuous activities till after three days after the surgery.  Narcotic pain medication can cause drowsiness; therefore do not perform activities that require coordination or concentration while taking them including driving or operating machinery.

If you had an infection in your mouth at the time of surgery or if you required extensive surgery, you may be advised to take antibiotics.  It is important that you follow the dosage directions of the medication prescribed.  Should you develop an allergic reaction to the antibiotic (skin rash, swelling or difficulty breathing) STOP taking the medication and contact the practice for advise, or go to your local Accident & Emergency if the reaction is severe.  Some antibiotics can cause gastric symptoms as a side effect.

Please note that some antibiotics can interfere with oral contraceptives (birth control pills) that prevent pregnancy.

Applying ice packs to the side of the surgical site can help reduce the swelling.

Either contact the practice on 009626 4612462 during our regular office hours , or call the mobile number provided by the answering machine outside office hours.  If your concerns are not urgent, you can contact us via email on reemdental@yahoo.com and we will be sure to write back to you within 24 hours.