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.

Pain Medications

It is not unusual to have discomfort during the first week following your surgical procedure. You will be given a prescription for medication to help you manage discomfort during the post-surgical recovery period. Please take your medications as directed. If necessary, you may take your pain medication more frequently than every 4-6 hours to stay ahead of the soreness. It is not advisable to take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

As an alternative to prescription medications, some patients have found taking a combination of over-the-counter Ibuprofen and Tylenol to be effective. You may take the combination in either of the following dosages: 3 Advil Liqui-Gels and 2 Regular Strength Tylenol or 3 Advil Liqui-Gels and 1 Extra Strength Tylenol, every 4-6 hours as needed.

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. 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 may occur following your surgical procedure. If you experience swelling, it typically peaks 48 hours later. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack over the outside cheek or lip area intermittently for 10-20 minutes on and 10-20 minutes off. Continue using ice for 2-3 days following the procedure.


A small amount of bleeding is normal. Slight oozing for the first several hours after surgery is normal. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:

  • Do not rinse your mouth.
  • Elevate your head when lying down.
  • Apply moistened gauze to the immediate area with moderate pressure for 20 minutes; repeat if necessary.
  • Use a moistened tea bag or a gauze square moistened with hydrogen peroxide and apply pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Call the office if bleeding persists.


The surgical area may be covered by a pink putty-like dressing (which acts as a bandage) which is used to protect the surgical site and help reduce discomfort. Do not be alarmed if the packing comes off before your post-surgical visit. Do not pull or pick it off. It is also safe to swallow, do not be alarmed if you wake up in the morning and pieces of it are missing. Just be sure to keep the area as clean as possible until your next visit. Otherwise, the dressing and any remaining sutures will be removed at your post op appointment.


Until comfortable, avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid extremely hot foods and liquids for approximately 24-48 hours following the surgery so as not to soften the dressing. A soft diet is recommended. Foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, soup, eggs, yogurt, pasta, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and fruits are more easily eaten. Hard foods and highly seasoned foods should be avoided during the first week. Be careful not to disturb the surgical site. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing. Maintaining adequate fluid intake during the first 24-48 hours is also important to avoid dehydration. Please do not use a straw for 1 week as the suction can create bleeding.

Smoking and Exercise

Avoid excessive exertion or exercise for 1 week. You should refrain from smoking following your surgical procedure. It will significantly slow healing, can lead to infection and can compromise results.


Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications.


Avoid vigorous rinsing following surgery. After 24 hours, begin gently rinsing with or applying Peridex 2-3 times daily as instructed by Dr. Cohen. All areas of the mouth not involved can be brushed as normal. Do not brush the surgical site. After 1 week, you can gently rinse with a 50/50 solution of Listerine and hydrogen peroxide or you can use over the counter Peroxyl. (This does not apply if Dr. Cohen only instructed you to apply Peridex topically.)


Do not brush the surgical site. You may resume normal brushing/flossing in other areas the following day.

Suture Removal

Typically, resorbable/dissolvable sutures are used for periodontal procedures. If Dr. Cohen chooses to use a non-dissolvable suture, they are painlessly removed approximately one-two weeks later.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at 815-356-8200.