Dr. Andrew Bluhm, Dr. Steve Dorsch and Dr. Gene Vandervort have prepared the following instructions to help you minimize discomfort during and after surgery and to promote healing. Following the instructions below can help enhance your healing process. You can also refer to the links below for instructions specific to your procedure:


We will prescribe any necessary medications to make your post-operative period as comfortable for you as possible. Discomfort varies with the amount and type of oral surgery performed. Remember to take all medications as directed.

While taking your pain medication, do not drink alcoholic beverages at any time. If the medication includes any narcotics, do not operate a car or other machinery, as drowsiness and impaired reflexes can develop with this type of medication.

Our surgeons may prescribe an antibiotic after your procedure. This should be taken until the prescription is completely used up. Do not stop taking the antibiotics even if you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort. Some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you develop a reaction to the antibiotics, please call us for further instructions.

What to Expect

In most cases, the after-effects of oral surgery are minimal, though patients may expect some of the following effects:

  • Swelling or bruising.
  • Trismus (stiffness of the muscles), making it difficult to open the mouth.
  • A sore throat.
  • A slight earache or toothache.
  • Dry and cracked corners of the mouth. Use cream or ointment to keep your lips moist.
  • A higher for 24 to 48 hours. If the temperature continues, notify us.

The First Hour After Surgery

Gently but firmly bite down on the gauze packs that are placed over the surgical areas; this ensures that the gauze packs remain in place and undisturbed. DO NOT CHANGE OUT THE GAUZE PACKS DURING THE FIRST HOUR UNLESS THE BLEEDING IS NOT BEING CONTROLLED. Keep your fingers and tongue away from the surgical site or socket.

Intermittent oozing is considered normal, but bleeding should never be significant or severe; if it is, it usually means that the gauze packs are being clenched between your teeth rather than pressing on the surgical area. Try repositioning your fresh gauze packs so that pressure is directly on the surgical area and your remaining teeth are kept slightly apart.

At-Home Treatment

Use the following steps to address any of your symptoms:

  • Discomfort – Take the first dose of pain medicine before you start to feel any discomfort. Try not to take the pain medicine on an empty stomach to avoid an upset stomach.
  • Swelling – Minimize facial swelling by keeping your head elevated and alternating cold and warm compresses.
  • Rinsing – Avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours after surgery, as it may disturb the clot. The day after, use warm (NOT HOT) salt water rinses (1 teaspoon in 6 ounces) to rinse your mouth. Repeat this rinse after every snack and meal for seven days.
  • Brushing – Oral hygiene is important, but remember to be gentle when brushing and flossing around the surgical sites.
  • Diet – During the first 24 hours after your surgery, eat soft foods and soups that are easily chewed and swallowed. Drink plenty of fluids but DO NOT use a straw. Avoid chips, nuts, pretzels, popcorn and any other hard foods that may lodge in the surgical site.
  • Nausea – To ease nausea, drink one ounce of a carbonated drink, such as cola or ginger ale, every hour for five to six hours.
  • Bruising – Apply heat to involved area.
  • Smoking – Do not use tobacco at all during the first two weeks.
  • Stiff Jaw – Chew gum, especially when applying moist heat.
  • Physical Activity – Minimize heavy physical activity and reduce unnecessary talking for the first 24 hours following your surgery.

After your oral surgery in Ashburn or Leesburg, Virginia, please feel free to call Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at any time for further clarification on what you can do post-surgery to care for your mouth.