Pre & Post-Op Care For Oral Surgery: What You Need To Know

If you are coming to see Dr. Mauricio Herrera for a consultation at the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery at Glen Allen, one of our dentists may suggest oral surgery as a treatment option. We want our patients to be completely comfortable and well-informed, so here’s a list of pre-op and post-op instructions to keep in mind if you’re an oral surgery patient:

Pre-Operative Instructions

  • Eating and drinking – Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before your procedure. This includes water.
  • Smoking – Do not smoke for 12 hours prior to surgery.
  • Asthma – If you have asthma, bring in a non-expired inhaler on the day of the surgery.
  • Driving and logistics – You cannot drive for 24 hours after IV anesthesia. In addition, an adult must accompany you to the office to be present during the procedure, and to drive you home. In cases of pediatric surgery, 2 adults must be present.
  • Clothing and personal care – Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing. Wear short sleeves and closed toe shoes. Remove all contact lenses, dentures, or jewelry. Do not wear makeup, nail polish, or lipstick.
  • Sudden sickness – If you have a sudden issue like a cough, sore throat, upset stomach, or a recent asthma attack, you must inform Dr. Herrera. Your procedure may have to be rescheduled, for your own safety.
  • Oral medications – If you are currently taking oral medications of any kind, Dr. Herrera will tell you during your consultation whether they need to be discontinued before surgery.

Post-Operative Instructions

After surgery, you will be given detailed recovery instructions and gauze, and you will be asked to follow these instructions:

  • Bleeding – Immediately post-op, bite firmly on your provided gauze pack for 30-45 minutes to stop bleeding. Keep firm, even pressure on it, and do not remove it. DO NOT sleep with the gauze pack in overnight.

    Minor bleeding is common during the first 24 hours of the procedure, and can be treated with the supplied gauze. If heavy bleeding occurs, fold a gauze pack in half and leave it in place for another hour.
  • Pain relief – If you were given a prescription pain reliever, take it as directed. You may combine prescription pain relievers with ibuprofen, but NOT with any medication containing acetaminophen.
  • Swelling – Swelling is normal. You can apply ice packs externally, 1/2 hour on, 1/2 hour off, on the day of surgery. Heat packs should be used after the first day of recovery.
  • Avoiding dry socket – DO NOT spit, rinse your mouth, use a straw, drink carbonated beverages, or use mouthwash for 24 hours post surgery. Do not drink alcohol for 2 days post-surgery, and do not use chewing tobacco until the site has healed.

    This prevents loss of the blood clot, and dry socket.
  • Exercise and physical activity – Do not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least 3 days after your operation.
  • Meals and drinking – Continue your normal meal schedule, eating soft foods or drinking nourishing liquids.
  • Rinsing – To promote healing, you can gently rinse your mouth with salt water, 24 hours after surgery. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water. You can also brush normally, but take care around the surgical site

See Dr. Mauricio Herrera For More Detailed Instructions!

When you come to the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery at Glen Allen, Dr. Herrera will provide you with a detailed handout and instructions about how to recover from surgery.   


If you need a tooth extraction, dental implant, or other oral surgery, our office near Glen Allen, Innsbrook, and Shore Pump offers a warm, comfortable atmosphere. Schedule a consultation now at (804) 556-1233, or come to our office at 4805 Lake Brook Drive, Suite #150, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060. We hope to see you soon!

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