Postsurgical Care

Dental implant

Tips and Guidelines for an Effective Postsurgical Dental Care

Have you recently had an oral surgery at James B Phillips Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery? We understand your concern about the after effects. Here is some important information that will help you deal with your postoperative phase.

Kindly go through the tips and guidelines and contact us for any further information. We'll be happy to help you. Call us at 870-931-3000.
Smiling woman

Best Practices for Postoperative Bleeding

Mild postsurgical bleeding and oozing is to be expected after any oral surgery. Therefore, we place a gauze pack over the area of surgery. You're required to bite on this gauze forcefully to minimize the bleeding.

Kindly keep in mind that firm biting pressure on a correctly placed gauze pack in the surgical area is the most effective means of stopping the bleeding. This gauze needs to be changed within the next 45 minutes or 1 hour.

Repeat the process if the bleeding doesn't subside. However, you don't need to repack if there is only slight oozing. Please bear the following points in mind after the surgery:
  • Keep your head elevated at a 45-degree angle for 24 to 48 hours after the surgery
  • Avoid any spitting as it disturbs the blood clot and leads to additional bleeding
  • Use a Kleenex to gently remove any bleeding that's not totally absorbed by the gauze
  • Don't actively rinse your mouth for the next 24 hours
  • Brush your teeth gently within 24 hours of your surgery
Woman Drinking a Glass of Water

Postsurgical Diet Plan

After every surgery, it is essential to know your diet. We don't impose any specific restrictions on diet; however, for your comfort, you should eat foods that can be easily chewed and swallowed. It's important, especially during the first 24 hours.

Fluid intake should be preferred, although it's advised to avoid milk products for the next 24 hours. Nothing is better than water. Drink a lot of water to maintain a good fluid intake (about 8 to 10, 8 oz. glasses of liquid every 24 hours).

Refrain from solid foods. Please avoid drinking through a straw for the first 24 hours. There are certain oral surgical procedures that require specialized instructions. In such cases, we will explain the details to you before you get discharged.
Smiling woman

How to Deal With a Dry Socket

Dry socket is a postsurgical condition wherein the protective blood clot disappears, usually within 3 or 4 days after your surgery. It is otherwise known as alveolar osteitis.

It is identified by the sudden increase in pain in about 3 to 4 days after the surgery, when you feel you're getting better. As there are no such symptoms as increase in pain or temperature, it is impossible to predict or prevent such a condition.

It can be treated by placing a cotton ball soaked with Oragel in the socket. When you feel you have developed such a condition, give us a call at 870-931-3000. Our efficient staff will attend to you immediately.
Smiling woman

Prevent Infection After Your Dental Surgery

Some oral surgical procedures might cause temporary damage to sinus structures. In such cases, you might be prescribed certain antibiotics. It's essential that you inform our staff about the medications that you are allergic to.

There are a few antibiotics that interfere with the action of birth control pills. If you are taking birth control pills and have missed out mentioning it, please inform the staff as soon as possible.

Postoperative infection in the oral region is characterized by:
  • Swelling
  • Elevated temperature of the skin over the swollen area
  • Redness of the skin over the swollen area
If we take an oral temperature, there are chances of getting a false reading because the patient has had recent surgery in the area. Therefore, it is required to substitute axillary temperature readings for oral ones.

Axillary readings generally show a deviation of 1 degree (less) from the actual temperature. It can be treated with 2 Tylenol every 3 to 4 hours with plenty of fluids. Kindly avoid taking aspirin.
Smiling woman

Tips to Handle Postoperative Nausea

Don't worry if you feel nauseated after surgery. There are chances that some might experience postsurgical nausea during the first 24 hours after surgery. We usually administer a potent anti-nausea drug intravenously during the sedation.

Here are some tips concerning postoperative nausea:
  • Don't lie flat as you will end up swallowing blood because it drains directly to the throat
  • Elevate your head by 30 to 45 degrees
  • Change the gauze as directed
Swallowing even a small amount of blood on an empty stomach can make you feel nauseated. In such a condition, it is advised to take an anti-nausea medicine immediately because it won't be effective once you start throwing up.

Please keep in mind that you should not take any pain medication on an empty stomach. You might not feel like eating solid foods for 24 hours. Start with small sips of 7-Up, tea, coke and so on. Fluid intake will be sufficient, although you can go ahead with a soft diet.
Woman brushing teeth

Oral Hygiene Is of Utmost Importance

Once you manage to walk past the first 24 hours after surgery, the next step is to stay attentive to your oral hygiene. Start with gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water, mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and so on. 

After 24 hours, you may brush and rinse as normal, but remember to "baby" the surgical areas as long as they are sore. Strictly avoid spitting or drinking through a straw as it might result in dislodging the blood clot and interrupting the normal course of healing.
Smiling woman

Fight Off Dental Pain Bravely

We'll numb the region of surgery once we're done operating to help you with the pain. But this numbness usually wears off within 2½ to 5 hours and hence it is advised to start the pain medication before that.

We recommend that you take a full dose of pain medicine once you get home. Repeat the prescribed dose of medication every 3 to 4 hours on the day of your surgery and at night (you might not need to get up at night) even if you're not experiencing severe pain. 

Just ensure that you take enough pain medicines to stay comfortable. Tylenol helps in relieving pain to a great extent. Strictly avoid taking aspirin after surgery.
Smiling woman

Take Proper Care for Postsurgical Swellings

You might have to endure the swelling that persists for 3 days post surgery, after which it gradually subsides. Place an ice pack on the operated area, on and off, for 15 to 20 minutes, alternatively, on the first day of your surgery. This will reduce your swelling.

Continue using an ice pack for 24 hours and then stop it. Sleep with your head raised using pillows for the next 24 to 48 hours. The swelling follows a characteristic pattern, where it increases over 3 days and then slowly subsides. If that's not the case, give us a call.
Smiling woman

Getting Back to Normal Life After Surgery

No matter how major or minor your surgery is, your body needs its own time to recover. Take a minimum of 24 hours off before you get back to work or school. It will help reduce the swelling of the surgical area and give time for the formation of a normal clot.

Also, it is a great chance for you to take a few days off from your school or work and we'll be glad to provide you with an excuse.
Smiling woman


  • You might experience sore throat or certain numbness in the chin or lips after you have undergone a wisdom tooth surgery. Don't panic, for it is just normal. If the condition persists for more than 2 to 3 days, get in touch with us for assistance
  • Secondary bruises may begin to occur after 2 to 3 days of oral surgery and they will last for about 2 to 3 weeks
  • Your wisdom tooth removal or any dental extraction procedure leaves a hole in your gums that can become an irritating food trap. In such cases, contact us for a plastic syringe to flush out food and other particles from the extraction area
  • Absorbable sutures are used after surgery, which need not be removed. In case of non-absorbable sutures, we'll give you a return appointment for its removal. Don't panic if the sutures start coming out within 48 hours as they're designed to do so
  • You might experience a little shakiness or change in bowel habits post surgery. Don't worry. It is due to the anesthesia and disappears in 6 to 12 hours
  • Avoid removing dentures for 24 hours if you have had them placed today. Contact your dentist so that he / she can recommend a suitable day (usually 2 to 4 days)
  • IV sedation can cause tenderness, discoloration, hardening of the vein at the injection site or difficulty in opening your mouth due to tightness in facial muscles. Keep the area warm and moist for 15 minutes, 3 times a day till the hardness subsides
  • Don't panic if your permanent sutures look white in color over the first week after surgery. It is because of some food particles that get stuck to the sutures; it is not any kind of infection
  • A facial swelling after surgery is normal. It will eventually subside, leaving a small hard knot. The knot might take about 6 weeks to dissolve completely. Please bear in mind that the duration may vary from a day or two to 2 weeks
  • As an adult, a wisdom tooth removal might leave you with a sore jaw for about 3 weeks. You need not get nervous about it
Dental service

Get in Touch With Our Reliable Medical Staff

Feel free to contact us at 870-931-3000 for queries. We're available between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM from Monday to Thursday. Availability on Fridays depends on our surgery schedule. If we can't respond, our staff will give you a return call as early as possible.

You can contact our on-call doctor after regular office hours by calling us at the toll-free number 1-870-933-3837 (answering service). However, request for medications (refills or other) over the phone will be done during regular business hours.

We do so in order to ensure that your health records are available to us when you call us and any prescription does not adversely react with any other medicines that you are taking.
Smiling woman

Examples of Postoperative Emergencies

  • Acute breathing difficulties
  • Acute and symptomatic drug allergies like rash and shortness of breath
  • Sudden acute swelling
  • Sudden and symptomatic cardiac changes (abnormal rhythms)
  • Sudden and uncontrollable oral bleeding
Other unusual postoperative symptoms that are not treated as emergency include:
  • Slight temperature increase (oral)
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Pain
  • Gradual increase in swelling
  • Queries concerning normal recovery
  • Changing prescriptions
  • Diet
You are kindly requested to make after-hour calls for emergency conditions only. For other unusual symptoms, you may call us during the regular business hours.
All our medical professionals are certified by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Call 870-931-3000 to schedule an appointment.
We accept a number of payment options.
Share by: