Post-Operative Instructions For Incision and Drainage

The after-effects of oral surgery vary from person to person so not all of these instructions may apply. If you have any questions about your progress or any symptoms you are experiencing, please call our office at Huntersville Office Phone Number 704-875-8833.


  • Patients should return home from the office immediately upon discharge until all of the effects of the anesthetics have disappeared—24 hours.
  • A responsible adult must remain with the patient for at least the first 24 hours.
  • While recovering from anesthesia and/or taking prescription pain medication

DO NOT……..

  • Drive or operate appliances/equipment that could be dangerous: car, power tools, stove, lawnmower, etc.
  • Swim, go near a pool or lake
  • Make important or legal decisions
  • Drink alcoholic beverages—the drugs in your body may cause an adverse reaction with alcohol
  • Use stairs without assistance



  1. Take gauze out. If there is still bleeding, replace with new gauze.
  2. If there is bleeding after second gauze, place dampened tea bags—any kind will work—on both sides, bite down for an hour.
  3. Keep in mind that blood-tinged saliva may be present for 24 hours after surgery. Keep your head elevated above chest level for the first 2 days and nights after surgery.

As soon as bleeding stops…

  1.     Eat something—this is important as the medication is hard on the stomach.
  2. Take pain medication. If you were prescribed an antibiotic, you SHOULD NOT take it at the same time.
  3. Remember DO NOT drink with a straw for 1 week after your surgery.


  1. Do not use ice or heat unless directed to do so.


  1. Start after the first 24 HOURS.
  2. Rinse with salt water first. Use ½ a teaspoon of salt water in a cup of warm water. It may be easier to buy a gallon of distilled water and mix salt water all at once. Do this 6 times a day, once after every meal and once in between.
  3. If you were given a prescription for a special rinse, start using it 24 hours after surgery, twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.


  1. Follow soft foods diet for 5 to 7 days.
  2. Scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.—anything you don’t have to chew.

Peak Pain and Swelling

  1. Usually occurs 2 or 3 days after the surgical day, not counting the surgery day itself. For example, if your surgery was on Friday, the worst day will most likely be Sunday.
  2. Pain and swelling will not be gone on the 4th day, but it should be getting better. If it feels like pain and swelling are increasing after the 4th day, please call our office.

Syringe Rinsing

  1. If you were given a syringe, begin using it to rinse with warm salt water on the 5TH day post surgery. Use it on the lower wisdom tooth sites ONLY.


  1. Some sutures are dissolvable; others need to be removed during your follow up visit.
  2. If they dissolve on the first day it is okay—they DO NOT need to be replaced. They are like “fancy Band-Aids” and help control bleeding, not healing. Again, they WILL NOT be replaced. 


Contact our office if…

  • You have a fever of 100° or if pain and/or swelling increases after 48 hours.
  • There is a rash, itching, or hives—stop all medications and call.

Contact 911 if…

  • There is swelling of the throat or difficulty breathing
  • In the event of an emergency


  • DO NOT smoke for at least 7 days after surgery as it is detrimental to the healing process. Two weeks of no smoking would be best for your recovery.
  • DO NOT use a Waterpik or other unauthorized devices on surgical sites.

For patients prescribed an antibiotic…

  • Take the prescription EXACTLY as directed and until ALL antibiotics are gone
  • Do not take antibiotics at the same time as the pain medication. Taking them separately allows us to trace any reaction that might occur to the offending medication.
  • If you are currently taking oral contraceptives, you should use an alternative method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle
  • If you develop diarrhea that lasts more than a day stop the medication and call the office


  • If the patient is under 18 years of age, it is recommended that a parent closely monitor their use of these medications.
  • Proper storage of these medications is encouraged in order to prevent misuse or abuse.
  • You DO NOT need to take all of the pain medication.
  • It is recommended to first try using over-the-counter pain medications if you are not allergic. These medications include one of the following: Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naproxen as directed on the bottle. If ineffective, you can then use your prescribed medication for breakthrough pain.
  • It is important that you properly dispose of these medications after the treatment course has ended.


  1.     When can I start brushing my teeth?

You may brush the day after surgery, taking care to avoid the surgical sites.

  1.     When should I use the rinses?

Beginning 24 hours after surgery, use the salt water rinse 6 times a day: once after each meal and once in between for the next 3 weeks.  If you were given a prescription for a special rinse, begin using it 24 hours after surgery as well.

  1.     How soon can I engage in strenuous activity?

We recommend avoiding strenuous activities such as exercise for 5 to 7 days after surgery.

  1.     How long will I be numb?

Loss of sensation to the chin and lip is common—especially after lower wisdom tooth surgeries— and usually disappears after a few days or weeks. If your numbness does not wear off within 24 hours after surgery, please contact our office.

  1.     Do I have to take all the pain medication?

No, you can take over-the-counter pain medication that you typically use if you don’t like the way the prescription makes you feel, (i.e. nausea or vomiting).