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Oral Surgery

Pre & Post-Op Instructions

Pre-Op Care

Being prepared for your surgery is one of the best ways to ensure your entire experience is a positive one.

General Pre-Surgical Instructions

Unless you receive different instructions from your oral surgeon, keep the following in mind:

  • Do not eat or drink anything (including water) for eight hours prior to your appointment. If you take medications, you should take them with a small sip of water no later than three hours prior to your appointment.
  • A responsible adult must accompany you to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, and drive you home.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up past the elbow.
  • Remove contact lenses, dental prosthetics (dentures), and jewelry.
  • Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
  • Fill any prescription pain medications and antibiotics before the day of your surgery.
  • If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, or stomach or bowel upset, please notify the office.

Be sure to talk to your oral surgeon if you currently take medications that contain aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Aleve (naproxen), ibuprofen, or Tylenol (acetaminophen); or anticoagulants such as Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox, and Heparin.

Post-Op Care

Your oral surgeon will provide you with specific post-surgical instructions to follow at home. By following your post-operative instructions carefully, you can minimize unnecessary pain, the complications of infection, and excessive swelling.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Never drive an automobile or operate dangerous machinery on the same day as your surgery or procedure.
  • Avoid any heavy lifting and strenuous physical activity for several days after your surgery.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, but do not suck on a straw, because this can dislodge a clot and lead to bleeding.


A nominal amount of bleeding from the surgical site is to be expected over the first 24 hours. If you experience more bleeding than normal, bite down on a piece of gauze for 30 minutes to help a clot form. If this doesn’t stop the bleeding, contact our office.


We administer a local anesthetic for all procedures, even if you’ve chosen to have general anesthesia. The numbness will wear off eventually, usually between six and 12 hours after your surgery. While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite down on your tongue or cheek.


Swelling is common in the first few days following surgery. Place an ice pack on the swollen area—20 minutes on and 20 minutes off—to minimize swelling.


Pain management is crucial after your oral surgery. You should begin to take pain medication as directed—whether over-the-counter or prescribed—as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. If you wait until you are in a lot of pain, it will take longer for the pain reliever to work.


Depending on the type of oral surgery you’ve undergone, your diet may be affected. You may need to limit your diet to liquids and soft foods, and avoid chewing on the side of the incision. The oral surgeon will give you specific dietary restrictions prior to your surgery.


Do not brush the surgical area or the teeth surrounding the area for 72 hours following surgery. After the first day, use a warm salt-water rinse (one teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water) every four hours and following meals to flush out food particles that may lodge in the operated area.

Contact our office immediately if you experience any excessive bleeding or drainage from the surgical site, have unusual redness or pain, or start running a temperature higher than 101°.

fairfax dental office
Fairfax Office
4210 Fairfax Corner West Ave.
Suite 245-1

Fairfax, VA 22030
reston dental office
Reston Office
1984 Isaac Newton Square West
Suite 200

Reston, VA 20190
springfield dental office
Springfield Office
6564 Loisdale Court
Suite 325-1

Springfield, VA 22150