Are you one of those people who worries about what to do before a procedure or about problems you’ll have afterward? If so, we have a checklist that you can follow to erase that worry from your mind. Whether it’s preoperative or postoperative, we have you covered!


In order to make sure that we can carry through with your procedure, you must adhere to a few preoperative rules. First of all, make sure you are on time! We typically schedule operations between the hours of 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. We would love to start on time so we don’t inconvenience our other patients and so that you are guaranteed the best service that we have to offer. Also, you shouldn’t drink any water or eat any food 6 hours prior to the surgery. Doing this could prevent us from being able to perform the operation. Follow these two simple rules, and there should be nothing in the way of having a successful oral surgery!


Oral surgery is similar to surgery on other parts of the body in that it requires great attention to postoperative instructions. Unlike our preoperative instructions, the postoperative rules are numerous, but abiding by these rules will minimize pain and other aftereffects. These rules are:

Do not disturb the wound with the fingers or by sucking on it. Bite firmly on gauze for 45 minutes without changing it. Keep swallowing the saliva in the mouth. Remove the gauze after 45 minutes. The saliva may be tinged with blood for 24-48 hours, but the saliva should be swallowed as the motion of spitting may precipitate bleeding.

Alleviate discomfort with pain relievers as directed. Two Tylenol or Advil tablets should be taken before the effects of the local anesthetic disappear. Thereafter, one or two tablets every 4 hours may be taken as needed. Medication given by prescription should be taken as directed on the label, and also started before the effect of the local anesthetic disappears. Avoid taking medications on an empty stomach. Eat something with consistency, such as mashed potatoes, oatmeal, or a banana, as this helps to prevent an upset stomach. Greasy food should be avoided for 12 hours. See specific food guidelines below.

Reduce swelling with ice. To help minimize the swelling, which may occur later, use an ice bag, half-hour on and half-hour off for the first 24-48 hours following a surgical procedure. The maximum amount of swelling normally occurs after 36-48 hours. Heat compresses may be used after 48 hours.

Stop bleeding with gauze. Some bleeding is normal following all procedures for 24-48 hours. But if bleeding is excessive, it should be contained. Place gauze or a moist tea bag over the wound. Hold firmly for 60-90 minutes by closing teeth. Replace the gauze, and maintain pressure on the wound for another hour. If bleeding doesn’t diminish after a sensible length of time, call us for further instructions. There is a doctor on call 24 hours a day and he may be reached by calling 847-276-2500.

Follow a soft-food and liquid diet. Following routine extractions, a soft diet such as soup, combined foods, and food supplements, Susticial, Ensure, Nutriment, etc., should be consumed for the first 24 hours. After a day, unless specified, a normal diet may be gradually resumed as tolerated.

Maintain careful oral hygiene. Do not rinse the area of surgery for 18 hours. After 18 hours, brushing of all teeth should be resumed, preferably with a soft brush. AFTER one week following surgery, rinse gently with salt water at least once a day. Healing will occur more rapidly when good oral hygiene is observed.

Patients who have dentures inserted immediately after surgery should not remove their dentures until they have seen their dentist, which will normally occur within 48 hours, or unless otherwise instructed. Rinsing with iced salt water, with the dentures in place, several times a day helps maintain good oral hygiene.

Limit activities. Keep physical activity to a minimum for the first day. Sports should be avoided for 3-4 days unless otherwise instructed.

Miscellaneous Pain in the ear, difficulty swallowing, difficulty in opening and closing the jaw, and some local discoloration of the skin are additional symptoms that occur with differing frequency. These symptoms are almost always short-term, and should relinquish during the regular healing period.

For any questions regarding preoperative or postoperative rules, call us at 847-276-2500!