After your surgery at Northern Virginia Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, following these instructions will help to make you more comfortable and they will aid your body in the healing process. They will also help to prevent complications from the surgery you have undergone.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us for further guidance. You can call our offices at any time, day or night. After office hours our answering service will take your call and will page the doctors immediately upon your request.
- Do not smoke until the surgery sites are completely healed.
- Do not use drinking straws for several days.
- Keep your head upright at all times. In bed, use pillows to keep your head elevated.
- Limit your physical activities for several days.
- Do not rinse your mouth or spit for 24 hours.
- Do not drive for 24 hours if you have been under anesthesia.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking pain medication.
The day of surgery
(when you return home)
- Immediately after surgery, bite down firmly to make sure the gauze stays in place over the surgery sites. Do not touch the sites with your tongue or with your fingers.
- Wash your hands thoroughly, as soon as you arrive home. You may remove the gauze temporarily afterwards.
- Drink 4 oz. of carbonated, non-caffeinated beverage such as ginger ale until your stomach settles. Then add beverages like water, tea, broths, soups, juices.
- Eat a little. Only soft foods such as custard, pudding, yogurt, banana, soft-cooked eggs, should be eaten.
- Take your medications. Eat before taking severe pain medication. Begin slowly, adding medication as needed. Pain will be most intense the first 6-8 hours after surgery.
- Place clean gauze into your mouth and bite down for at least an hour. Repeat one or two times as needed to reduce bleeding and stimulate clotting over the surgery sites.
- Immediately after you place the new gauze in your mouth, apply an ice bag to your cheek or jaw. Apply for 30 minutes, then remove for 30 minutes. Repeat for 24 hours, except while sleeping. Ice is only helpful the first 24 hours.
24 hours after surgery
- Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into an 8 oz. glass of warm water. Rinse your mouth gently with this salt water. Be careful not to rinse strenuously or you might dislodge the clotted blood over the surgery sites, which can slow healing.
- Rinse with salt water (see above) four times daily for five days. Rinsing flushes away food particles, which often lodge around surgery sites.
- Brush your teeth if you wish, carefully, and take care to avoid the surgery sites.
- If you experience swelling or stiffness, apply moist heat to your cheek or jaw. Apply moist heat for no more than 20 minutes at a time, then remove the heat for the remainder of the hour. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Advil may also help reduce your swelling.
- Pain medications must be taken on a full stomach.
- Antibiotics must be taken on a partially empty stomach unless we have given you special instructions.
- Do not stop taking your antibiotics before you have taken all that have been prescribed.
- Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking pain medication.
- Please call for prescription refills during regular office hours.
Pain following surgery
- Pain is most severe during the 6-8 hours following surgery.
- Begin your pain medication slowly, adding slowly if pain persists.
- Do not wait for pain to become unbearable before taking more medication, since this may make it more difficult to control.
- By the third day, you should be experiencing minimal pain or discomfort. Please call the office if you continue to experience moderate pain after 3-4 days, since this may be caused by early loss of the blood clot (called dry socket) or infection.
(if your surgery involves or is situated near sinuses)
- Do not blow your nose.
- Do not sneeze through your nose. Be sure to keep your mouth open if you feel the need to sneeze.
- Avoid swimming and strenuous exercise for at least one week.
- Remember to call us if you have questions about any of these instructions. If you have called after office hours and haven’t received a call back within a half hour, please call us again, in case we have not received the page from our service.