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What can I expect during oral surgery recovery?

Have you just experienced oral surgery? Follow our advice guide to your post-oral surgery recovery so you know what to expect.

Pain relief following your oral surgery recovery

Individual requirements for pain relief for oral surgery recovery will vary significantly.

Regular use of pain relief medication is recommended for the first one to two days and is best started as soon as possible after the surgery and before the local anaesthetic wears off.

The most useful medications are Ibuprofen (Nurofen, Nurofen Plus) four to six hourly, or Paracetamol (Panadol, Panadeine, Panadeine Forte) four to six hourly.

Endone is a strong painkiller and is sometimes prescribed.


Bite firmly on a gauze pack for 30 minutes, to stop any bleeding this may need to be repeated several times. Blood stained saliva is common for 24-28 hours and is not a cause for concern. If bleeding is excessive despite above measures please contact your surgeon for further instructions.


Swelling is unpredictable, and a very common side effect of oral surgery.

Swelling is more likely with longer procedures. It will increase over the first 24-72 hours and then begin to subside. Bruising with skin and sometimes neck discolouration may occur as the swelling settles. Ice packs applied as early as possible may slightly reduce the swelling.

Nausea and vomiting

These are common after general anaesthetic and will resolve as the anaesthetic wears off.


All patients undergoing surgery general anaesthesia will receive a single dose of intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis whilst under anaeshesia to reduce post-operative infection rates.

Unless clinically indicated, there is no evidence that an additional course of oral antibiotics will further reduce post-operative infection rates.

Dry socket

This is the result of loss of the clot within an extraction socket and usually presents within the first three to five days. The signs are that of increasing pain and bad taste and smell without the other signs of infection.


These are used to reposition the gum at the front of the mouth and to help stop troublesome bleeding. They are not always required at the back of the mouth (eg. wisdom teeth).

If stitches are used, they will be dissolvable, and disappear in one to two weeks.

Oral hygiene

Resume normal tooth brushing as soon as possible; it will not damage the healing sockets. Mouth rinsing three to four times per day should commence the day after surgery. A teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water is adequate for most patients.


A relatively soft diet will be more comfortable in the period immediately following the surgery. Hot and spicy foods should be avoided. Ensure you maintain adequate fluid intake.

Follow up

A follow up phone call is routinely made in the days following surgery to ensure that your progress is satisfactory.

A routine review appointment will be arranged for you around two to three weeks post-operatively unless otherwise indicated.

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