Oral Surgery Recovery

Though most procedures completed at the Oral Surgeon office will allow you to return to your regular daily activities within a few days, how well you follow your surgeon’s post operative instructions and how much you rest will make a big difference for better or worse.

Rest and Recovery

It is ideal to allow at least two days after your oral surgery to rest. Physical activity needs to be kept at a minimum and a healthy diet of soft foods with plenty of water and liquids should be kept for a few days. After two days, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, you should be safe to return to you regular daily activities.

Pain and swelling after oral surgery

The amount of discomfort you feel following oral surgery will vary based upon your personal pain tolerance and what procedure you had. Some pain, tenderness and swelling are normal. Use ice packs and try to keep your head elevated to reduce swelling. Most swelling should be gone after seven to 10 days. You may experience some stiffness but that will subside as you return to normal eating and speaking habits. If you feel you are experiencing more discomfort than can be managed with your medications, call your doctor.

Bleeding after extraction

Some bleeding after an extraction is normal and could continue up to 24 hours. Biting down on the gauze provided to you for 30 minutes after you leave the surgeon’s office will help the bleeding. If the gauze feels stuck when you go to take it out, take a sip of water to loosen it, avoiding any tugging action. A pink tint when you rinse your mouth can be expected for a few days but if you notice significant bleeding at the surgical site, reach out to your doctor.


Antibiotics and pain management medications may be necessary following your procedure. Be sure to take in full any antibiotics that your oral surgeon prescribes. Pain medication should be taken only as needed.

Oral hygiene after surgery

For a 24 hours after oral surgery, brush very gently and floss if you are able, taking precaution to avoid the surgery site. Rinse with water, do not use mouthwash or spit the water out. Allow the water fall out of your mouth on its own. Using a warm salt water rinse after the first day will help keep the surgery site clean. Use the salt water as often as you like, especially after eating.

Tobacco use

Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco use absolutely must be discontinued for at least 24 hours. The suction action of inhaling can cause painful dry socket just as using a straw. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot that is forming over the area is dislodged. Not only is this a painful experience, it will slow your healing process and likely require going back to your oral surgeon’s office to have it treated. Smokeless tobacco can leave particles in the mouth which can get caught in your surgery site and cause discomfort and irritation, and even an infection.

More Oral Surgery : Frequently asked Questions about Oral Surgery