Post-op Instructions

Our team at Greater Houston Dental Arts thanks you for putting your trust in us for your dental surgical needs. Swelling, discomfort, and restricted jaw function are expected and should not cause alarm. We strongly urge you to follow the instructions below to minimize discomfort and complications. Please read them carefully. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 713-417-3327.


Remove the gauze pack(s) after 1 hour. Slight bleeding is expected for the first day. Do not rinse, spit, use straws, smoke, or brush your teeth for the first 48 hours. Spitting or sucking causes bleeding to continue. If bleeding is excessive, place a folded gauze pad or a moistened tea bag over the wound and bite firmly for 30 minutes with constant pressure. While sleeping, assume a semi-upright position using a couple of pillows.

Pain and Infection

Take your medications as directed on the package. If you develop hives or a rash, discontinue all medications and contact our office. Do not drive, operate mechanical equipment, or sign legal documents after taking prescription pain medication. Do not take narcotic prescription pain medication on an empty stomach!


Apply an ice pack intermittently to the side of the face that has been worked on, immediately upon returning home and change it frequently. Continue this on and off for 24–48 hours. Peak swelling should occur between the second and third days postoperatively and diminish slowly thereafter.


A liquid to no-chew diet is recommended the day of surgery, and then soft foods high in vitamins and protein is recommended for the next several days. Increase your fluid intake. As you progress to more solid foods, you should not be chewing over the surgical site. Avoid food that is very hard or sharp.

Oral Hygiene

Do not use your toothbrush over the surgical site. The day following surgery, you may brush the other teeth but not the site of surgery. Instead, use the prescription mouth rinse for 30+ seconds twice a day. Do not use a Waterpik®-type device.


Avoid overexertion and get adequate rest. Avoiding sports, exercise, and strenuous activity for at least 2–3 days is generally recommended.

Dental Care

It is usually best to avoid routine or elective dental care (including orthodontic or hygiene visits) for approximately 2 weeks after surgery unless your doctor has advised otherwise.


Signs of infection include increased pain and swelling after 3 days, redness, warmth, drainage of pus, foul smell, and fever. If these occur, contact our office.

Alcohol Intake

Avoid the use of alcohol at least until your first post-op appointment and/or until you have clearance from the doctor. Most prescription pain medications and antibiotics may have severe interactions with alcohol.

Dental Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures should not be used after surgery unless otherwise advised by your doctor. These may need to be adjusted at or after your first post-operative return visit.

Post-op Visits

Your first postoperative visit should be scheduled at 2 weeks to assess healing and to remove any sutures. If you have any concerns or questions, please call the office and we would be glad to bring you in sooner.

Sinus Precautions (for Sinus Grafts, Maxillary Molar Extractions and Maxillary Dental Implants)

The sinus cavity is the hollow air space above and near the teeth on either side of your upper back jaw, which lies alongside and connects with your nose. Patients that have had a tooth removed near the sinus cavity or an implant procedure/bone grafting involving the sinus need to follow some special post-operative precautions to avoid pressure changes and actions that could possibly negatively impact healing. Please follow these instructions carefully for the next 3–4 weeks.

  • Do not blow your nose! Wipe nasal secretions gently.
  • Do not use a straw.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Try to avoid sneezing. If you do sneeze, sneeze with your mouth open.
  • Avoid swimming, scuba diving, playing a wind instrument, blowing up balloons, or other things that cause pressure changes in your mouth.
  • If you feel congested or have a runny nose, use an over-the-counter nasal decongestant or antihistamine.
  • Avoid bending over — try to keep your head above the level of your heart. Sleep with your head slightly raised.
  • Do not strain by pushing or lifting heavy objects.
  • Take any antibiotics or other medications as prescribed.
  • Occasionally experiencing a few drops of bleeding from your nose is not unusual and is no cause for alarm.

Download Post-op Instructions

Click below to download a PDF version of the post-op instructions.