Post-Operative Instructions

Printable General Post-Operation Instructions


The average patient experiences mild to moderate discomfort after surgery. You will be given a prescription for medication to alleviate this discomfort. Take one of the pain medications before the anesthetic wears off with milk or juice. Do not drive an automobile or work near dangerous machinery for 12 hours after taking tablets prescribed for discomfort. If for any reason the discomfort persists, don’t hesitate to call the office. In addition to your pain medication, you can also take 400mg of ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) every 3 hours for three days beginning immediately after surgery unless you have been instructed by your physician or Dr. Williamson to not take ibuprofen.


It is not unusual to have some swelling and/or discomfort in the surgical area. An ice pack will be of great benefit. This should be applied to the face as soon as possible after the surgical procedure. It should be held to the face for 20 minutes, and then removed for 20 minutes. This procedure should be repeated for the next several hours. Swelling should be at its worst 48-72 hours and then should begin to improve. If swelling seems excessive, doesn’t improve after 48-72 hours or you begin running a fever, please call the office.


Don’t be concerned if you notice traces of blood in your saliva for several hours after the procedure has been completed. This is normal and not a cause for action. It may last for 24 – 48 hours. If you discover moderate to heavy bleeding at the surgical site, moisten a tea bag with cold water and apply very firm pressure directly over the bleeding area for 20 minutes. Be sure to keep the tea bag moist at all times. If this does not stop the bleeding within one hour or bleeding seems excessive, please call the office. If you are wearing a palatal retainer following gingival grafting and you notice excessive bleeding from the roof of your mouth, remove the retainer and gently clean off any blood clots on the roof of your mouth. Lie down with your head slightly elevated and use the tea bag as described above. Once the bleeding has stopped, replace the retainer and do not remove for 24 hours. If the bleeding persists, please call the office.

Care of Mouth

You may be given a prescription for a medicated mouth rinse. Start rinsing with the mouth rinse twice a day beginning the day after the procedure. Begin flossing and brushing areas not involved in the procedure the day after the periodontal work. You may also brush the tops of the teeth in the area where the procedure was performed, but try not to disturb the sutures in this area. Avoid the use of straws, peroxide, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and smoking for at least 24 hours. Brushing and flossing instructions for the areas worked on will be given to you at your first post-operative visit.


Gauze may be placed in your mouth after your surgery. The gauze should be removed 30 minutes after leaving the office


Adequate nutrition is essential for normal healing. During the first 24 hours, your diet should be restricted to liquids and soft foods that are room temperature or cooler and which are easily chewed and swallowed. Dietary supplements such as Instant Breakfast, Ensure or Nutrament are a good source of nutrition. A multi-vitamin such as Centrum is also good. After the first day, you can eat whatever you are comfortable with but try to not skip meals. If you take nourishment regularly and keep you fluid level up, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster.


Please go home and rest the day of surgery. It would be preferable for you to have 24 hour supervision and a “light day” the first day after surgery; thereafter, let your good judgment be your guide. Refrain from heavy exercise or strenuous activity for 48 hours.

Sensitivity of the Teeth

Your teeth may be sensitive to hot, cold and possibly to sweets following your periodontal procedure. This sensitivity will diminish and should be significantly reduced in a month or so after the surgery providing good oral hygiene is maintained.


It is not uncommon to experience nausea following periodontal surgery. The cause of the irritation is usually either the pain medication or the blood that was swallowed during the procedure. Nausea as a result of blood should be of short duration. Nausea associated with the pain medication may be experienced following each dosage taken. If the nausea is related to the pain medication, make sure that you have something in your stomach prior to medicating or stop taking the pain medication and try to alleviate the discomfort with over-the-counter medications. If you are in need of pain medication but are unable to take your prescribed medication, call Dr. Williamson and he will try to prescribe an alternative medication for you.


A retainer may be placed over the roof of your mouth following gingival grafting procedures. The retainer should not be removed, except for excessive bleeding for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, the retainer should be removed and cleaned with a toothbrush. The retainer is generally worn 24 hours a day, with the exception of daily cleanings, for the next week. However, if after 24 hours you are more comfortable with the retainer out, you can wear it at your discretion. Place the retainer in a zip-lock baggie with water when not wearing it to reduce any distortion.


Most of the sutures that Dr. Williamson uses will dissolve in about 3 – 7 days. If after 3 days, a suture is hanging down or has become a long string in your mouth, you may cut the part of the suture hanging down or bothering you. Do not cut intact suture that has not come loose.

Sinus Lift

  1. Do not blow your nose for approximately 7 to 10 days after surgery.
  2. Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco.
  3. Do not take in liquids through a straw.
  4. Do not lift or pull on lip to look at sutures (stitches).
  5. If you must sneeze, do so with your mouth open to avoid any unnecessary pressure on the sinus area.
  6. You may experience nose bleeds for 24-48 hours.
  7. You may be aware of small granules in your mouth or nose for a few days following your procedure.
  8. Swelling is expected. Swelling will maximize at 48-72 hours after surgery and then begin to lessen.
  9. Avoid stooping or lifting heavy objects for 3 to 4 days following your sinus lift.
  10. Rinse with Peridex 2 to 3 times a day for the next 5 days.

Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions or are experiencing any unusual symptoms following treatment.


To optimize the healing following an extraction and to minimize any complications, please follow these guidelines:

  1. Apply moderate pressure to the extraction site by biting on gauze or a paper towel for one hour following the appointment.
  2. It is not unusual to have some swelling and/or discomfort in the extraction area. An ice pack should be applied to the face as soon as possible after the extraction. It should be held to the face for 20 minutes, and then removed for 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure for the next several hours to help minimize the swelling.
  3. Avoid the use of straws, peroxide, alcohol, carbonated beverages and tobacco for at least 24 hours.
  4. Limit heavy exercise or activities which involve any heavy lifting, bending or stooping for 48 hours.
  5. Adequate nutrition is essential for normal healing. During the first 24 hours, your diet should be restricted to room temperature or cooler liquids and soft foods which are easily chewed and swallowed. Try to maintain a normal diet if at all possible.
  6. A pain medication may be prescribed to help with discomfort. Take the medication as directed with food or milk and do not drive or operate heavy machinery after taking the medication.
  7. Take all medications you regularly take unless otherwise notified by Dr. Williamson.
  8. If antibiotics are prescribed by Dr. Williamson, follow the directions on the bottle and take the prescription until all of the medication is gone.
  9. Rinse the extraction site with warm salt water 2 times a day for 1 week beginning the day after surgery.
  10. If for any reason you experience discomfort or any problems, do not hesitate to call the office.

Scaling and Root Planing

  1. Expect slight bleeding for the next 12 hours. If bleeding persists or becomes excessive, please call our office at 512-346-2782.
  2. There may be some increase in root sensitivity, especially to hot or cold liquids. This will decrease with time. A fluoride gel or desensitizing toothpaste may be prescribed if sensitivity persists. Remember, bacterial plaque produces acid which can cause root sensitivity, so the better you clean your the teeth, the less sensitivity there will be.
  3. After the numbness is gone, mild to moderate discomfort may occur in the areas that were scaled. A non-prescription pain medication, such as Advil or Tylenol is recommended as needed for the discomfort. Warm salt water rinses (1/2 tablespoon of salt in 8 oz. of water) will also help soothe the area.
  4. It is important to keep your teeth and gums clean. Although the treated areas may be tender, brush your teeth and gums gently before retiring for the evening. Soften your toothbrush by running the bristles under hot water and gently massage the gums and brush your teeth. Flossing should resume the next day.

If you have any questions or if problems should arise, please contact us.
Office: 512-346-2782
Pager: 512-397-9245
Dr. Williamson’s Home: 512-794-2910