After oral surgery, it is vital to take proper care of the surgery site to keep it from opening. Dr. Vincas Sidrys or Dr. Matthew Garcia will have placed a piece of cotton gauze over your extraction site; please keep this in place with firm biting pressure for 30 minutes. Next, replace the gauze and bite firmly every 30 minutes until the bleeding stops. Our goal is to form and keep a clot in the extraction site so healing can begin.

The Day of Surgery:

  1. Your lip, tongue or cheek may be numb for up to 6 hours. Try to avoid biting these areas!
  1. Take prescribed pain pills or two tablets of ibuprofen before numbness wears off.
  1. Eat and drink foods you can tolerate after most of the bleeding stops. Cold foods are more soothing and help decrease future swelling. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods.
  1. Until the bleeding stops, avoid eating, sucking on the wound, forcefully spitting, touching the site, drinking through straw, soft drinks, using mouth rinses, smoking and exercising.
  1. Swelling may occur, reaching its peak at 48 or 72 hours after surgery. For the first 24 hours afterward, you may use an ice bag (frozen vegetables work great!) over the area for 30 minutes each hour (maximum) to decrease the swelling that will occur. Do not use ice after the day of surgery!

The Day After Surgery and Until Healing Is Complete:

  1. After meals, brush teeth gently avoiding the extraction site.
  1. Several times a day, until healed, place a teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm (not hot) water and rinse mouth gently. Let the heat and salt solution rest in the healing area for five minutes.
  1. Eat food as tolerated and continue to take pain medications as needed.
  1. Once swelling begins to go down (48 to 72 hours later), a heating pad on medium for 30-minute intervals applied to the face may decrease swelling more quickly.
  1. If there is an increase in swelling, pain, fever, difficulty in swallowing or continued inability to open or move your lower jaw, please call us at 919-479-5800.
  1. Limit yourself to calm activities to reduce bleeding and avoid dislodging the clot. After a few days, you will be feeling fine and can resume your normal activities.

Excessive Bleeding: If you remove the gauze after 60 minutes and there is still excessive bleeding:

  1. Remove all excess blood clot with gauze.
  1. Place damp gauze over the bleeding area only (folded in a square).
  1. Bite firmly for 20 minutes.
  1. If bleeding still persists, please call Willowdaile Cosmetic and Family.
  1. Helpful hint: biting on a moist tea bag can help stop bleeding faster.


Smoking complicates healing and puts you at high risk for dry socket, which is very painful. Avoid smoking at all for 48 hours. To help, we can prescribe a nicotine patch for you. Until fully healed, place gauze over the extraction site if you do smoke.

Follow these steps, and you will be back to normal in no-time! If you have any further questions or concerns about adult care after oral surgery in Durham, North Carolina, don’t hesitate to contact our dentists.