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. You will be given a prescription for medication to help you tolerate the post-surgical recovery period. Please take your medications as directed.  It is advisable to not take pain medication on an empty stomach, as nausea may result.  Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medications.

If you are able to take ibuprofen or Motrin, it is recommended to take 400-800 mg ibuprofen every 6-8 hours.  You may alternate over the counter acetaminophen (tylenol) in between the doses of ibuprofen.

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 and will typically increase 2-3 days after the procedure. To minimize the swelling, place an ice pack gently over the outside cheek area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery. 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.
  • 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.


Dr. Ridgway will apply a surgical dressing for some, but not all periodontal surgical procedures. The dressing (which acts as a bandage) is used to protect the surgical site. If the dressing comes off, comes loose or is uncomfortable, please call the office for direction.  Please DO NOT try to reapply the dressing if it comes off, this could damage the graft.


Please avoid chewing on the side where surgery was completed until otherwise instructed at your postoperative appointment by Dr. Ridgway. Avoid hot foods and liquids until after the anesthesia has worn off so you do not accidentally burn yourself.  Cool foods in the first several hours after surgery are recommended.  A soft diet is recommended. 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.

If you have had grafting or surgery on your front teeth, avoid biting into sandwiches or foods with your front teeth until otherwise informed by Dr.  Ridgway that the tissue has adequately healed.  Cut your food up and chew on the back teeth.

Please do not chew or put biting pressure on your dental implants while they are healing.  This could negativley affect the healing of the implants to the bone.


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.


Do not rinse for the first 24 hours. If you were prescribed Peridex mouthwash (chlorhexidine gluconate 0.12%), you may use this mouthwash for 30-60 seconds in the morning and at bedtime.  You may also gently rinse your mouth with mild salt water (1 tsp salt in 6-8 ounces of water).     


Do not brush the surgical site. The prescription mouthwash used twice daily will keep the surgical area clean without damaging the tissues during healing.  Do not  brush the surgical area until Dr. Ridgway has instructed you to at your postoperative visit.  You may brush & floss the areas NOT treated surgically.

Suture Removal

Many of your sutures will dissolve on their own.  Please avoid pulling on any loose sutures and allow sutures to resorb on their own.  If a suture is bothersome before your scheduled postoperative visit, please call the office.  

Contact Us

Should you have any questions or concerns during regular office hours, please do not hesitate to contact us at Brentwood Office Phone Number 615-377-7793.