Post-operative Instructions

These instructions apply to the surgical procedure just completed. They are designed to help you minimize post-surgical discomfort and inform you of any situation that may require special attention.  Many procedures have little-to-no post-operative discomfort, however, others can be more involved.

Pain Medications

It is not unusual to have discomfort for 2-3 days, and potentially a dull soreness for at least the first week following your surgical procedure.  Non-prescription medications will likely be recommended as a first line of defense, depending on your individual situation.  For those that are able to take Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), 600 mg (3 regular pills) every 6 hours may often be recommended as an effective regimen.  Over-the-counter Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may also be recommended as an alternative or in combination with Ibuprofen.  

You may also be given a prescription for pain medication to help you tolerate the post-surgical recovery period. Specific recommendations will be made for your individual case, and please take your medications as directed.  It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

Note: When taking any prescribed medication containing Acetaminophen (Tylenol), i.e.; Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicoden or Tylenol with Codeine, you should not take additional Tylenol so as not to exceed the safety level of Acetaminophen.  Additionally, these narcotic pain medications can not be taken during work, when driving, or in combination with alcohol or some other prescription medications.  These instructions will be discussed with you following surgery and  please contact the office with any questions you may have.


Please alert the office to any allergies or sensitivities that you might have to antibiotics. An antibiotic may be prescribed following your surgical procedure. Take as directed until gone. It is advisable not to take these medications on an empty stomach, as nausea may result. For women taking birth control pills, be advised that antibiotics may interfere with their effectiveness.

Swelling & Discoloration

Swelling may occur following your surgical procedure and will typically increase 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack over the outside cheek area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Continue using ice for 2-3 days following the procedure as often as possible.  Temporary tissue discoloration may occur.  This is similar to a bruise following other injuries and will go away.


A small amount of bleeding is normal for the first 1-2 days after a procedure.  Until bleeding is controlled, you should avoid eating, sucking on a straw or cigarette, frequent spitting, the use of mouth rinses, or exercising/strenuous activities.  To minimize bleeding also:

  • Elevate your head when lying down.
  • Apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary.
  • Enclose a moistened tea bag in a gauze square and apply pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Call the office if bleeding persists.


Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid hot foods and liquids until the numbers has worn off, as you could burn the area and be unaware. A soft diet is recommended. Stay hydrated and avoid hard, crunchy foods such as nuts, potato chips, granola, and popcorn.  Foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and fruits are more easily eaten. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing.


Do not smoke for at least 2 weeks following your surgical procedure. It will significantly slow healing and can compromise results.


Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.

Brushing & Rinsing

You may be asked to refrain from brushing directly at the surgical site for a short period of time, and a prescription mouthrinse may be prescribed for use in the surgical area.  Avoid using other over-the-counter rinses until otherwise instructed. 

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at Iowa City Phone Number 319-337-3588.