Oral Surgery Recovery

The most important concern after your oral surgery is allowing your body time to recover and heal. Most oral surgeries will allow you to return to normal daily activities within a few days but resting and caring for your surgery site is essential.

Bleeding after extraction

It is normal to experience some bleeding after an extraction which may last up to 24 hours. Your oral surgeon will provide you with some gauze on which to bite to apply light pressure. You will want to bite down for 30 minutes to an hour after you leave the office. When it comes time to throw away the gauze, sipping on a bit of water can help loosen it if it feels like it is tugging and stuck. If you continue to bleed significantly at the surgical site, reach out to your surgeon.


Swelling after an extraction is also normal. Ice packs and elevation are an easy way to help keep swelling to a minimum. After seven to 10 days, swelling should be completely gone though some stiffness at the area may remain for a few more days. Stiffness will ease as you return to eating and speaking habits. Please contact your oral surgeon if swelling has not subsided after 10 days.

Pain after oral surgery and medications

Pain and tenderness is normal and the level of discomfort you may experience depends on what procedure you endured. Your oral surgeon will give you prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics as necessary. If you are prescribed antibiotics, make sure you complete the entire round so as to avoid infection. Your pain medication should only be taken as needed.

Rest and Recovery

At least two days after surgery, you will need to plan to rest and not be physically active. During this time, you will need to maintain a diet of plenty of liquids and soft foods. After two days, you should be safe to return to regular daily activities.

Oral hygiene after surgery

For a period of 24 hours after oral surgery, you will need to brush very gently and floss if you are able, avoiding the surgery site. Rinse your mouth with water, do not use mouthwash, and do not spit the water out, just open your mouth over the sink and let the water pour out on its own. After the first day, a warm salt water rinse will aid in keeping the surgery site clean and help it heal. Your salt water rinse can be used as often as you like, especially after eating.

Tobacco use

Just as you want to keep from using straws during your healing time, it is incredibly important to avoid smoking for at least 24 hours. The suction action can easily cause dry socket, which is the dislodging of the blood clot that will form over your surgical site to protect and heal the area. If the blood clot is disrupted, it can be very painful and delay healing. Using smokeless tobacco is also something to be avoided. Pieces of tobacco can enter the surgical site and cause discomfort and irritation.

More on Oral Surgery : What is Oral Surgery?