Southern Maxillofacial Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Mornington Peninsula

Post Operative Surgery Information

Instructions Following Oral Surgery | Instructions Following Jaw/Facial Fractures

Patient Instructions Following Oral Surgery

1. Packs
In the event that the patient goes home with gauze packs in the mouth, these are to be removed 1 hour after surgery. Ice packs may be applied to help decrease pain and swelling (packet of frozen peas may be substituted).

2. Swelling
This is quite a normal response and usually reaches its peak 24-30 hours following surgery. It often varies from one side of the face to another depending on the degree of difficulty. The swelling starts to subside and is again not unusual.

3. Bruising
Bruising may occur as the swelling starts to subside and is again not unusual.

4. Bleeding
Bleeding may occur after oral surgery and responds well to direct pressure. If it occurs, use a clean rolled handkerchief to apply direct firm pressure to the bleeding site for one hour. If bleeding persists, please contact the surgeon.

5. Pain
Always occurs with varying intensity. Initially, it is important to take the painkillers regularly. This may reach a peak after 3-4 days but should decrease after 5-7 days with a decrease in the need for painkillers. There may be limitation in mouth opening. This is normal and will pass as the swelling subsides.

6. Nausea
Nausea and/or vomiting following oral surgery is common and may relate to medication or swallowed blood. It is wise to have clear fluids only for the first 12 hours. If vomiting persists, please contact the surgeon.

7. Infection
Infection is uncommon following oral surgery and if it does occur, it will show itself by a late increase (3-4 days) in swelling and/or discomfort and/or the onset of a discharge. Antibiotics are not routinely prescribed following surgery.

8. Stitches
Dissolving stitches will be used in almost all cases. They will fall out or dissolve in approximately 7-14 days following surgery.

9. Oral Hygiene
DO NOT RINSE YOUR MOUTH UNTIL THE NEXT DAY AFTER SURGERY. Rinsing in the early stages will cause bleeding. Rinsing with a mouthwash is suggested (a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water is recommended) and this should be done after food intake until healed. Tooth brushing should be recommenced as soon as possible.

10. Diet
Your diet will need to be restricted to fluids and soft foods initially. A gradual return to a normal diet is recommended.

11. Smoking
It is advisable that you refrain from smoking for at least 3 days after the surgery as this increases the risk of infection.

12. Local Anaesthetic
Local Anaesthetic is almost always used, even if treatment is carried out under General Anaesthetic, as it reduces post operative pain. It is very important that you do not but your lip or tongue while it is numb.

13. Problems
If problems arise, do not contact your own Dentist or Doctor, please contact the surgeon on: ROOMS: (03) 5975 6087

After Hours Emergency
Dr Brian McMillan / Dr Sunia Vudiniabola Pager: (03) 03 9483 8570

In the unlikely event that you cannot contact your Surgeon please call the Emergency Dept of your local public Hospital.

Pain Relief Following Oral Surgery

Once severe pain is established it is harder to relieve, it is therefore important to try to take analgesics regularly if pain is present.

Most pain following the oral surgery responds well to Paracetamol (eg Panadol). The adult dose is normally one or two tablets every four hours (maximum does 8 tabs per day). Paracetamol is available in combination with other analgesics. Panalgesic is one such preparation and is very effective as it also contains a mild sedative. Panalgesic is available from a Pharmacy without the need for a prescription. The dose is the same as for Panadol. Nurofen (Ibuprofen) can be used in addition to paracetamol for more severe pain. Persons with some medical conditions such as a history of gastric ulcers cannot take Nurofen. The adult dose of Nurofen is usually one or two tablets three times daily. Nurofen does not require a prescription. If you have had treatment either under a general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation you are usually given a drug similar to Nurofen intravenously and should not commence Nurofen until 24 hours after your surgery. For pain not relieved not relieved by paracetamol and Nurofen a prescription medication may be required; for example Panadeine Forte. Panadeine Forte is a mixture of paracetamol and codeine therefore, if Panadeine Forte is taken, no other paracetamol should be taken. Panadeine Forte and Nurofen can be taken simultaneously. Ideally, analgesics should be commenced before the effects of the local anaesthetic have worn off.


It is important to follow the manufacturers directions with analgesics and not exceed the maximum recommended doses.