Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – Post-operative Instructions

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1355-2023
  • Departments: Day Surgery (DSC) (CHH), Oral Surgery, Dentistry and Max Fax
  • Last Updated: 1 May 2023


This advice sheet has been produced to give you information about your procedure. It is not meant to replace discussion between you and the healthcare team. If after reading it, you require further explanation please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.


Your gum will be numb for a few hours after your procedure but it is advisable to take a painkiller before the numbness wears off. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen are usually sufficient. DO NOT exceed the recommended dose on the bottle, packet or prescription.

Ibuprofen is not suitable for asthmatics.

Do not take Aspirin


You may have some dissolvable stitches, these can take anything up to 3 weeks to dissolve, however they may fall out within a couple of days. If you have any concerns please contact us on the telephone number below.

Swelling and Bruising

This can sometimes be alarming following wisdom teeth extractions and apicectomies but it should usually resolve within a week.


Occasionally infection can occur but can be prevented with good oral hygiene and frequent warm salty-water mouthwashes.

Antibiotics may be given prophylactically after surgery.

Altered Lip Sensation (Lip, Chin and Tongue)

This is rare but can occur following wisdom teeth removal due to the close proximity of the nerves supplying the area to the lip, chin and tongue. This altered sensation usually resolves with time but can take anything up to 12 months and can sometimes be permanent. If you experience any altered sensation post operatively please contact us.


You will have some oozing for the rest of the day and in to tomorrow (this is a small amount of blood mixed with your saliva). This is normal and should be swallowed down with a drink. If you experience large amounts of blood which is pooling in your mouth take a clean cotton handkerchief, roll it into a sausage shape and apply firm pressure to the area for at least 15 minutes. Contact us if you cannot stop any bleeding on the numbers at the end of this advice sheet.

Discharge Information

Once the local anaesthetic has worn off you can have warm food and drink. Avoid hot food and drink for 6 hours.

It is important to brush your teeth and keep your mouth clean to help prevent infection. However, avoid rigorously rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours after your procedure, but then commence warm salty mouthwashes 5 times a day for 1 week (1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water). If you are prescribed an antiseptic mouthwash use this as well.

Avoid alcohol and vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours.

Avoid smoking for 7 days after your procedure as this can reduce healing and increases the risk of infection.

Returning to work depends on your individual circumstances. Normally a couple of days off work are recommended but the Doctor will advise you.

How to Contact Us

If you have any worries or concerns once you have left the department please contact one of the following numbers:

Maxillofacial Unit, Castle Hill Hospital – Weekdays 08:00 to 17:15 (01482) 468318

After hours and weekends in an emergency contact the on-call Senior House Officer (Junior Doctor) for the Maxillofacial service via the hospital switchboard on (01482) 875875 and ask for “Bleep 128”

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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