After Your Surgery

Post-Operative Instructions

Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. Be as gentle as you can around the bone grafting area. Try to maintain all graft material at the surgical site.


Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. Change the gauze pad every 30 minutes as needed. (In general, use as little pressure as is needed.) If excessive bleeding continues, please call for further instructions. Remove gauze when it is no longer needed.


Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag or bag of frozen peas or corn on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice for 10 mins on and 10 minutes off for the first 24–36 hours. Swelling typically reaches a peak in 3–4 days and then subsides over the next 3–5 days. If swelling begins to increase after the fourth post-operative day, please contact your doctor immediately.


Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or foods. Soft foods and liquids should be consumed on the day of surgery. Keep all solid food away from the surgical site. If it is possible, chew with the side opposite of the bone graft.


You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off. Please use the pain medication as directed. Do not wait until you feel pain to take the medication. Stay ahead of the pain.


Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Make sure you finish your antibiotics.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm salt water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4–5 times a day, especially after meals. Begin brushing your teeth the day after surgery. Brush the teeth adjacent to the grafted site but be gentle.


Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. You do not want to elevate your blood pressure with exercise or vigorous activity.

Wearing Your Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures should not be used immediately after surgery unless directed by your doctor.