After Your Surgery

Every patient recovers differently after surgery. Here are some common symptoms and our recommendations on how best to reduce the impact of them. 

If your symptoms persist then please speak to one of our team members.




After your procedure you should return home and rest quietly for the remainder of the day. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for a minimum of 48 hours.


It is normal for tooth sockets to bleed for 1-2 days after the procedure. This should be no more than a small amount of ooze. To control bleeding, a firm pad of gauze or clean linen should be placed directly over the bleeding area and pressure applied by biting firmly for 30 minutes. This procedure may need to be repeated several times. Always remove the pack from your mouth before going to sleep. If bleeding is excessive despite applying pressure with the gauze, contact Dr Lisa Crighton immediately for further instructions.


Pain is usually worst in the first 24- 72 hours, but may peak 48 -72 hours after the surgery, before settling over the next 4-5 days. On occasions however, the pain may take longer to subside. Pain medication will be discussed and or prescribed for you and should be taken regularly as directed until pain lessens. The use of aspirin should be avoided after surgery unless it is taken for medically reasons.

Often strong pain killers prescribed will have side effects such as nausea, vomiting and constipation, should any of these occur it is best to stop the medication immediately and discuss with Dr Lisa Crighton alternative pain relief measures.


Swelling is a variable part of the post-operative recovery. It is common for the swelling to increase for up to 2 days and then resolve over 2-3 days. Ice packs applied to the face following surgery will help reduce swelling as will sleeping elevated on 2 pillows for the first 2 nights after surgery.


It is usual for bruising of the skin to occur around the angle of the jaw and mouth, this may take 1-2 weeks to disappear.

Limited jaw opening

It will be difficult to open your jaws widely for a few days. This may make eating and tooth brushing difficult. It is important however, that you begin to exercise the jaw by gently opening and closing the mouth after 2-3 days to restore normal movement. Heat packs such as wheat bags or a moist warm pack applied to the face may be helpful while your jaw is sore and stiff.


To reduce the risk of infection you will need to do 4 things:
– Brush your teeth gently from day 1, concentrating on the front teeth and then every day brushing further towards the surgical sites
– Use a mouthwash such as saline/salt water prepared with one teaspoon of table salt dissolved in a glass of warm water, after every meal and at minimum 5-6 times a day and/or Savacol or any other chlorohexidene containing mouth wash. This should begin 12-18 hours after your surgery or the first postoperative day to prevent food becoming trapped in and around the surgical site.
– Take the prescribed antibiotics

The signs that you are developing an infection are:
– Fever (>38oC degrees)
– Pus discharge or foul taste or smell from the gums
– Increasing pain or swelling after 4 – 5 days


As your mouth heals your jaw may be sore and not open as usual. For the first week following surgery drink lots of fluids and eat soft foods (the consistency of mashed potatoes, boiled vegetables and noodles is good). Avoid eating hard or sticky foods that may aggravate your healing.

Sensitive teeth

Some patients find the teeth next to the extraction sites become sensitive. This is a result of surgery to gums and bruising of the bone around these teeth and can take up to 1-2 months to resolve.

Post Operative visit

A post-operative visit will be arranged for you. Dissolving stitches are used, which loosen and fall out of the gum in the surgical site. If non-dissolving stitches have been used Dr Crighton will advise of this and these will be removed at the time of your post-operative visit.

Often tooth extraction sites take 4-6 weeks to completely heal and the post-operative visit aims to check that this is occurring uneventfully.

If any problems occur prior to your scheduled post-operative visit, please call the office on 03 9686 9400 to arrange an earlier appointment and in case of an emergency Dr Lisa Crighton is available by calling the paging service on 9387 1000, leave your name, number and details.