The most common adverse reactions after surgery are pain, swelling, and bleeding. Most often these are mild and resolve after 24-72 hours. Your surgeon will advise you on what is to be expected after the particular type and extent of procedure you have. If your symptoms are exceedingly severe or persist for a long time, please contact your surgeon.

Pain: If needed, you may take non-aspirin pain tablets (what your medical doctor recommends you take for a headache) every four hours to relieve discomfort. If severe pain is anticipated, your surgeon will write a prescription pain reliever for you. Please take those as directed. If you take prescription pain medication, do not drive, operate heavy machinery, make legal decisions, or care for minor children.

Swelling: When surgery is extensive, some swelling is expected. Cold packs may be held on the external face area nearest the surgery site during the first 24 hours after surgery to inhibit swelling. Apply the cold pack for 10 minutes then remove for 10 minutes. Repeat this application as often as possible for the first 24 hours. After the initial 24 hours, moist heat may be applied.

Bleeding: Some oozing of blood from the surgical site is normal after surgery. A small amount of blood with saliva will appear red or pink in your sink basin. If you have significant bleeding, a piece of damp gauze or black tea bag may be applied to the surgical site with pressure for 30 minutes. It may be replaced every 30 minutes. When no blood is present on the gauze or tea bag, you may cease applying pressure

Medications: In addition to pain medications, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and/or mouth rinses. Please begin antibiotics and pain medication immediately after surgery and take all antibiotics to completion. For the first 24 hours after surgery, do not rinse your mouth.

Diet: Maintain a well-balanced diet. Do not chew on the surgical site. Avoid hard foods that are difficult to chew and those that are very hot or very cold. Highly seasoned food, acidic drinks, and alcoholic drinks can also irritate the surgical site and should be avoided.

Sutures: If sutures have to be removed, your doctor will schedule a follow-up visit to remove them. Typically this is within 5-14 days after surgery. In some instances, sutures may dissolve on their own. In others, sutures may need to be in place for longer than 14 days. Do not attempt to remove your own sutures.

Home care: Avoid any activity that causes suction in your mouth for 48 hours after surgery. Do not vigorously rinse, vigorously spit, suck through a straw, or smoke cigarettes/cigars. Any type of suction in your mouth may increase bleeding and dislodge graft material. If you have had an extraction, suction may dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket, which is very painful. If you wear a denture or any removable dental prosthesis, please leave them out until your sutures are removed and your surgeon has informed you that you are allowed to wear them. This is to minimize pressure on the surgical site which may lead to bleeding, delayed healing, and potentially failure of the procedure.

If you develop a fever, uncontrolled bleeding, rash, numbness, or pain in your jaw or sinuses that is unrelieved by your pain medication, please call.