Post-operative Instructions

doctor's hand holding a pen These post-surgical instructions were designed to help you have an eventful recovery, by minimizing post-surgical discomfort and informing you of any situation that may require special attention.

Pain Control

It is not unusual to have some discomfort or “awareness” of the surgery for at least the first week following your procedure. You will be given prescriptions to maintain any post-surgical discomfort to acceptable levels. It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

Although the PAIN CONTROL PLAN is tailored to patient’s individual needs, a typical recommendation includes:

  1. Take 1 (one) prescription Ibuprofen 600 mg + 2 (two) regular strength Tylenol (or 1 extra-strength Tylenol), every 6 hours for the first 48 hours after the surgery, INDEPENDENTLY OF PAIN. After the first 48 hours, take it every 6 hours as needed.  This combination is highly effective for most patients;
  2. In addition, depending on the case, you will be given a “rescue” prescription such as Hydrocodone in case you need a extra layer of pain relief.  Be advised not to drive, operate machinery, sign any  documents, or make important decisions while taking opioid analgesics.

*An alternative pain control plan includes taking a combination of over-the-counter Ibuprofen and Tylenol. You may take the combination in either of the following dosages: 3 Advil Liqui-Gels and 2 Regular Strength Tylenol or 3 Advil Liqui-Gels and 1 Extra Strength Tylenol, together, every 6 hours for the first 48 hours, then as needed.

Take the first pain pill before the local anesthetic has worn off in order to manage discomfort more effectively. If you don’t have significant discomfort, it is because the prescriptions are working.  Remember that pain is a chemical released by the surgerized tissues in the first 72-92 hours after the surgery. 

By starting prescriptions such as Ibuprofen immediately after the surgery, this pain chemical is washed out as it is produced so it will not accumulate to a level to cause severe pain. This is the reason why some patients who elect not to take the recommended prescriptions initially find it more challenging to obtain pain relief 3 to 4 days after the surgery.

Note: When taking any prescribed medication containing Acetaminophen (Tylenol), i.e.; Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicodin or Tylenol with Codeine, you should not take additional Tylenol so as not to exceed the safety level of Acetaminophen (4,000 mg in a day). Know the active ingredients in the over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) medicines you take – acetaminophen is sometimes abbreviated on Rx labels as APAP.  Please contact the office with any questions you may have.


  1. An antibiotic may be prescribed following your surgical procedure. Take it as directed until all taken;
  2. If you develop any adverse reaction such as an allergy or sensitivity to the prescribed antibiotic, stop the drug and please notify our office immediately;
  3. It is generally advisable not to take these medications on an empty stomach (unless specifically directed), as nausea may result;
  4. For women taking birth control pills, be advised that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness;
  5. Do not interrupt the course of your antibiotic therapy without consulting with your doctor as it may result in a long-term bacterial resistance to the drug;
  6. Consider taking probiotics while you are taking antibiotics.


Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and will typically increase 2-3 days after the procedure before it starts subsiding. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack, ice bag, or a bag of frozen peas indirectly over the surgical area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.  Do not use the ice pack after the first day of the surgery, only if excessive bleeding persists.  In fact, you can start moist heat application 3 days after the surgery.  The rational for using the ice pack initially is to prevent bleeding, while the rational for starting the moist heat 3 days after the surgery include swelling control and promotion of blood circulation to the healing site.


A small amount of intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal after dental surgery. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:

  • If the bleeding does not stop, apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary;
  • Enclose a moistened tea bag in a gauze square and apply pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Do not rinse your mouth as we rely on the forming blood clot to stabilize the healing;
  • Maintain your head elevated  when lying down – do not sleep flat;
  • Call the office if bleeding persists.


The surgical dressing (which resembles a pale pink piece of bubblegum) is used as a band-aid to protect the surgical site and prevent discomfort. If the dressing comes off or is uncomfortable, please call the office for direction.


Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid hot beverages and foods for approximately 24 hours following the surgery. It is, however, imperative that you stay hydrated. Start with small amounts of cold clear fluids.   Should nausea or vomiting occur, hold on liquids for one hour, then restart over with clear liquids to gradually progress to soft foods next day. 

The day of the surgery your diet will be mainly a liquid or pureed foods (soups, milk shakes, yogurt, etc). You will graduate from liquid to semi-solid, then to solid foods starting from the day after the surgery at your own pace and comfort level. Foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and fruits are good choices to transition into your normal diet. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for proper healing and well-being. 

Do NOT include nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, or any crunchy foods in your diet as it can get trapped in the surgery and impair the healing. The use of a straw and ingestion of carbonated drinks should also be AVOIDED for the first few days after the surgery. Eat slowly and in small bites.


It is best no not smoke for at least 2 weeks following your surgical procedure as it can significantly slow healing and compromise the final surgical outcome.


Do not drink alcohol while taking antibiotics and stronger prescriptions for pain control such as hydrocodone.


Do not rinse for the first 24 hours. You can start with a very light rinsing the morning after the surgery using the prescribed antibacterial mouth rinse (Peridex – Chlorhexidine 0.12%). Limit the use of this prescription rinse to twice daily as this substance stays in your mouth killing bacteria for 12 hours. Rinse for 30 seconds and do not swallow it.

Brushing/rinsing with Rx mouth-rinse (Peridex)

You may resume normal brushing/flossing the day after the surgery.  Do not brush the surgical site as you can prematurely break the stitches (you will see our hygienist a couple of times after the surgery to remove any buildup you may accumulate around the surgery).  DO NOT rinse with regular mouth rinse such as Listerine, ACT, or Scope until you are advised otherwise.

If you had a sinus lift

  1. DO NOT blow your nose for the first 3 days after the surgery;
  2. If you need to sneeze you can do so with your mouth partially open, so the pressure will come through you mouth not through your nose;
  3. Maintain your head elevated  when lying down – do not sleep flat;

Exercise and physical activities

  1. DO NOT do any heavy exercise for the first 1 to 2 weeks after surgery;
  2. Walking is okay;
  3. NO lifting of weights heavier than 20 pounds;
  4. DO NOT do cardio type exercise for the first 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

Suture Removal

You may notice an increased discomfort or awareness of the surgery around day 3 or 4 after the procedure. As the tissues begin to heal, they may pull against the sutures and/or dressing. If you are a patient for whom antibiotic pre-medication is required, take the prescribed antibiotics 1 hour prior to your suture removal appointment.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Follow the above instructions as an overall guide and contact us at anytime with any question.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at Highland Park Periodontics & Dental Implants Phone Number 214-559-4670.

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