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After Surgery

What to Do After Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

On the Day of Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery or Extraction

  1. Bite firmly on gauze until bleeding stops. Change the gauze as needed. Remove gauze when eating, at bedtime, or when bleeding has stopped.
  2. Keep ice on the outside of the jaw near the extraction site for 24 hours. Zip-lock bags with ice may substitute for ice packs.
  3. Eat and drink only cold soft items, such as pudding, Jell-O, yogurt, and ice cream.
  4. Take medications as instructed. Stagger by at least 30 minutes. Do not take medications on an empty stomach.
  5. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or drinking alcohol while taking medications.
  6. Sleep with the head elevated to reduce swelling.
  7. Use an old pillowcase or towel at bedtime in case of oozing.
  8. No sucking, spitting, smoking, or physical activity. No tooth brushing. No drinking through straws.

On the Day After Surgery for an Extraction

  1. Brush teeth gently.
  2. Rinse with warm water after meals and before bed. Continue with rinses until the follow-up appointment.
  3. Add warm soft items, such as mashed potatoes, soups, pasta, and oatmeal, for a soft diet.

In General…

  1. Stitches may dissolve on their own after several days.
  2. Exercise the jaw to reduce stiffness.
  3. Gradually increase diet.
  4. Avoid sharp food items like popcorn and chips during the first week.
  5. May gently chew gum after two to three days to ease jaw stiffness.
  6. Mild bruising may occur along the jaw or at the IV site.
  7. Some swelling is normal.
  8. Use only moist heat to the jaw (no heating pads).
  9. Some patients develop a “dry socket”. A dry socket is an inflammation of the bone which causes a dull throbbing pain and is not relieved by normal pain medication. Please contact us immediately if you suspect this condition. A dry socket can be easily treated in the office.

If extraordinary symptoms develop, such as profuse bleeding or bodily illness, contact Dr. Alford at the office you were seen at. On weekends, you may reach Dr. Alford on his cell phone which is on the post-operative instructions you were given, as well as on the outgoing message if you call the office after hours.

For Patients Following Extractions or Wisdom Tooth Removal

After extractions, the following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:

  1. The surgical area will swell.
  2. Swelling usually peaks on the second or third post-operative day
  3. Trismus (stiffness) of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a period of days.
  4. You may have a slight earache.
  5. A sore throat may develop.
  6. Your other teeth may ache temporarily. This is referred pain and is a temporary condition.
  7. If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with cream or ointment.
  8. There will be a space where the tooth was removed. After 24 hours this area should be rinsed following meals with warm salt water until it is healed. This cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue.
  9. There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24 to 48 hours. If the temperature continues, notify us.
  10. It is not unusual to develop bruising in the area of an extraction.

You will need to be seen in the office, five to seven days after surgery to check the area(s).

Please take all prescriptions as directed.

Women, please note: Some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your pharmacist.


For Patients Following Receiving Dental Implants in Lakeway or Bastrop

For rapid healing, it is essential that you follow these instructions during the post-operative period.

  1. An elevated headrest (extra pillow) should be used during the first two nights of rest following surgery to reduce swelling in the area. In general, the level of the head should be above that of the heart.
  2. Should oozing or bleeding occur after surgery, it may be stopped by gently biting on a roll of moist gauze.
  3. Rinse your mouth with a warm salt-water solution following each snack or meal. A salt-water solution may be made with one level teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water.
  4. Commercial mouthwashes or sprays should not be used for one week following surgery because they may be too strong or irritating to the tissues. Dr. Alford may prescribe a prescription mouth rinse to be used twice daily for ninety seconds each time.
  5. Dentures may not be worn until refitted or relined by Dr. Alford or your restorative dentist. The wearing of inappropriate dentures may jeopardize a successful healing process and cause loss of the implant.
  6. Keep the area cool. We recommend that you keep ice on and off every fifteen to twenty minutes during the first twenty-four hours. This will help to minimize any post-treatment swelling and discomfort. You can make your own ice packs with crushed ice and a plastic bag. Bags of frozen peas or frozen corn work well as they will mold to the shape of your face and can be refrozen and reused. (Not for consumption following their use.)
  7. Smoking and consumption of alcoholic beverages should be avoided.
  8. Take medications as directed.
  9. If you have any questions concerning your recovery, please call our office.

Diet Instructions After Receiving Dental Implants in Lakeway or Bastrop

Any expert in oral and maxillofacial surgery will tell you that a nutritious diet is an essential part of a fast recovery. It is important that you maintain a diet of soft nutritious foods to help speed healing, maintain a feeling of well-being, and lessen discomfort. A hungry person becomes irritable and nervous. In this state, a person may be more susceptible to pain.

A liquid or non-chew diet is advised following the first twenty-four hours of surgery. Soft foods may be added to the diet the day after surgery. A soft diet should be eaten for seven to fourteen days following surgery. Avoid chewing on the area of the implant. If you have any questions, please call the office. Some suggestions are:



Drinks: milk, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, or non-acidic fruit juices

Fruits: stewed fruits, prunes, or similar fruits should be well mashed

Cooked cereals: oatmeal, Cream of Rice, or Cream of Wheat

Eggs: soft boiled, scrambled, poached, or soft fried

Bread: whole wheat bread is preferred



Liquid foods: broth, soups, and stews

Fish: baked or broiled

Chicken: broiled, stewed, or finely chopped

Beans: mashed or refried

Potatoes: baked, boiled, or whipped

Vegetables: soft cooked vegetables, vegetable juices, or soft avocados

Soft pasta: macaroni and cheese

Cheese: cottage cheese or cream cheese

Fruits: canned, cooked, or stewed fruits



Nutritional supplements: Ensure, Boost, Slimfast



Ice cream




Soft fruits


The best oral surgeons in Austin, TX find that small, frequent meals may be easier to tolerate. You may eat any soft food that does not irritate. Note that foods containing tomatoes, onion, pepper, or spices may be irritating. Additionally, acidic fruit juices may cause a burning sensation.

It is recommended that you take a multi-vitamin that contains Vitamin C, E, and Zinc.