Care of the mouth after oral surgery

print_iconLeaflet no: 004
Review date: May 2018


Maxillofacial Unit
Tel: 01271 322477

Please read and keep this leaflet. It will help you recover and heal as quickly as possible after your treatment.

What to expect

Oral surgery procedures can often result in pain, swelling, bruising and stiffness around the mouth, face and jaws.

There may be a blood stained discharge from the operation site. This is normal for the first day or so.

What to do

For the rest of the day of surgery


  • vigorous mouthwashing
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • exercise
  • very hot foods
  • very hot drink

since all of these factors would encourage further bleeding.


  • Rest
  • Take your pain killers regularly
  • Take your antibiotics if prescribed

On the day after surgery


Brush your teeth and keep your wound and stitches as clean as possible with gentle brushing.

A mouthwash can be useful but is not a substitute for tooth brushing.

Mouthwash – 1 teaspoonful of salt dissolved in one tumbler full of warm water can be used frequently (every 4 – 6 hours) from the day after surgery.

Continue taking your painkillers, if needed.

A few days after surgery, you should begin to improve and feel better. If you start to feel worse, have increasing pain or excessive swelling or bleeding, please contact the Maxillofacial Unit for advice.


You may be aware of blood stained saliva in your mouth after surgery. This is normal.

If oozing or bleeding occurs, this can usually be controlled with pressure. Place a rolled up clean, dampened cotton handkerchief or swab over the bleeding point and bite down on it firmly for 30 minutes. Sit quietly in an upright position for an hour after the bleeding has stopped.

If bleeding continues, please contact the Maxillofacial Unit on 01271322477. For out-of-hours telephone advice, please ring NHS 111 or attend A&E Department at the North Devon District Hospital or the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.


Be sensible for the first few days and eat soft foods, and drink plenty of fluids.

Further information

If you have any concerns or questions, please telephone the Maxillofacial Unit on 01271 322477.


Posted in Dental, Oral & Maxillofacial, Orthodontics, Patient Information Leaflets, Surgery and tagged .

Last updated: July 7, 2016