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 for at least the first week following your surgical procedure.  After surgery for pain relief and to reduce inflammation and tissue swelling, please take 600-800mg of Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or generic) three times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for at least three to five days. Do not take any other aspirin or Ibuprofen products while taking this medication, excluding acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Please take your medications as directed.  It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.

As an alternative to prescription medications we encourage patients to take a combination of over-the-counter Ibuprofen and Tylenol. 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.


Swelling, stiffness and bruising 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 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. Continue using ice for 2-3 days following the procedure as often as possible.


A small amount of bleeding is normal. If excessive or continuous bleeding occurs:

  • Do not rinse your mouth until 24 hours after surgery
  • Elevate your head when lying down. Place a towel over pillow cases to avoid staining linens.
  • 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.

Dressing and Gauze

Some procedures require the use of a periodontal dressing. The dressing (which acts as a bandage) and/or sterile gauze is used to protect the surgical site and help reduce discomfort. If the dressing comes off or is uncomfortable, please call the office for direction. Sterile gauze will be provided to you following surgery. Apply direct pressure to surgical site with gauze for several hours following surgery to allow the site to clot.


If donor tissue was taken from the palate, a stent may be placed to cover the roof of the mouth. Please be sure to wear this stent as much as possible for the first 24 hours (including bedtime). It will help with sensitivity and prevent oozing. After the first day, wear it whenever you need the comfort and security (eg: eating). The donor site will be tender and feel quite rough to your tongue. This is normal. Do not be disturbed by a dark coloration of the donor site. If you do not know if wearing a stent is required, please clarify with the surgical assistant!


Avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed. Avoid hot foods and liquids for approximately 1 hour 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. Drink plenty of liquids. Remember, adequate nutrition is essential for feeling better as well as for healing.


Do not smoke for at least 3-5 days following your surgical procedure. Smoking will significantly slow healing and can compromise results.


Do not drink alcohol while taking prescription pain medications or the antibiotic Metronidazole.


Do not rinse for the first 24 hours. After that, please use the Chlorhexidine mouth rinse that was prescribed for 10 days. The rinse keeps the surgical site(s) free from bacteria. Do not swish aggressively in surgical areas. Be advised that this product may permanently stain your teeth or older composite fillings. Listerine or warm salt water may be substituted after 10 days.


Do not brush the surgical site. You may resume normal brushing/flossing in other areas the following day. No tooth brushing or pulling on tissues around surgical site until otherwise directed.


No heavy activity/exercise for at least 48 hours. Keep blood pressure down!

Suture Removal

Our office will see you two weeks post surgery for suture removal (if applicable). Sutures may come loose or untied. Please do not remove the sutures yourself. You may choose to take some form of pain medication one hour prior to your suture removal appointment to minimize tenderness. If you are a patient for whom Antibiotic Pre-Medication is required, take the prescribed antibiotics 1 hour prior to your suture removal appointment.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at Northwest Portland Periodontics and Dental Implants Phone Number 503-222-2844 or after hours: Dr. Hovey at 503-805-9319 or Dr. Corning at 520-289-5961.