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Post-operative Care


Rest at home, avoiding strenuous exercise.

If there is still gauze in your mouth you can remove it once home. Wrap it in tissue and put it in the bin. Do not flush it down the toilet! Use ice packs if they help.

Drink lots of fluids and eat normally. Small frequent helpings are better. You must avoid hard foods such as apples, bread rolls, or steak.

Foods such as jelly(Jell-O), pasta, well cooked fish, soft bread soaked in soup and the like may be better.

Brush your teeth and wash your mouth with salty water – holding your tooth brush under hot water softens the bristles making it easier to use. Rinse with salty water at least 12 times a day. You do not need to disturb your sleep to do this!

If you are given a syringe for hygiene please use it. If you are unsure how, please ask.

The temperature of the water used for rinsing is of no consequence but be sure not to burn yourself. Use clean boiled water and about two full table spoons of salt for an average tumbler of water.


Don’t rinse your mouth on the day of surgery too vigorously. This can dislodge the blood clot.

Don’t lie flat after the operation. Keep your head elevated on extra pillows.

Don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Cigarettes will deny your mouth oxygen and will increase the chance for infection.

Don’t burn yourself with hot foods or drinks whilst you remain numb(usually around 8 hours).

Don’t chew your lips to test numbness, you can cause lip injuries.

Don’t drive or operate machinery if you have been sedated or had a general anaesthetic for at least 24 hours. If you are still affected beyond 24 hours continue to refrain from these activities. There is usually no such restrictions for surgery having been performed under local anaesthesia.


Your mouth will ooze gently after surgery for several hours. This is normal.

Small amounts of blood can get mixed in with saliva and appear to be more extensive.

Clean your mouth once with cold water, then bite on a gauze piece or a clean handkerchief for 30 minutes by the clock.

Pain and Swelling

Moderate pain is to be expected, for which you are given painkillers post-operatively. Swelling in most cases peaks on day three then quickly gets better.

If the painkillers you are prescribed are not working try over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.

Nausea and Vomiting

Stop foods and medications and try swallowing fine crushed ice which can settle the feeling. Sip small amounts of “fizzy” or flat drinks or even water but make sure these are cold.

Tea and coffee can make nausea worse.

Resume bland diet slowly. Reintroduce medicines one at a time.