Pre Operative Instructions

I have to undergo Surgery, what must I keep in mind?

Get Authorisation From Your Medical Aid

  • Please take the pre–authorisation form to your Medical Aid.
  • You also need to take the Medical Aid authorisation number with you to the hospital.

Before Surgery with General Anaesthesia

  • Please do not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to surgery.
  • Arrange for transport from hospital. Patients are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after surgery.

Before Surgery with Local Anaesthesia

  • Eat and drink your normal diet
  • Take your normal daily medications as prescribed by your doctor before surgery.

Post Operative Instructions

I have just undergone Dental Surgery, what must I do following the Operation ?

Following an Extraction

  • Please use and complete the anti-biotics and painkillers prescribed to you.
  • Don’t spit blood out of the mouth, rather swallow the blood after an extraction.
  • Bite on gauze; it will help with the bleeding.
  • Do not rinse with oral rinse for the first 48 hours. After 48 hours rinse gently with Luke warm salt water or as the prescribe oral rinse two times a day.
  • Please use the ice – pack provided for surgical extractions.
  • If you had undergone a dentectomy and received dentures, please do not take them out until your follow up appointment the next day.
  • No drinking of alcohol or smoking for the first week after surgery.

Dental Fillings – Children

  • Please use and complete the anti-biotics and painkillers prescribed to you.
  • Do not eat or drink before the local anaesthetic has worn off.

Side Effects

What Side Affects can I expect after Dental Surgery ?

Side effects such as ear ache, temporary tooth ache of adjacent teeth, restricted mouth opening, stretching or cracking at the corners of the mouth or discolouration of the skin may occur post operative. These are temporary conditions that will improve as healing progresses.


Swelling may occur immediately and increase gradually over 24 – 48 hours. Swelling from the surgical will maximise at 24 – 48 hours. Ice packs applied externally to the area at 20 minute intervals throughout the day of surgery may help control the swelling, but only use them if the dentist advised you to do so. Sleeping with your head elevated above your heart level for the first 2 post-operative nights may tend to lessen swelling.


Pain is best controlled with the medications prescribed by your doctor. Pain medication is most effective when taken before the local anaesthetics have subsided and normal sensation has returned to the particular area. Do not take pain killers on an empty stomach. Narcotic pain medication such as codeine, oxycodone or hydrocodone may cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, itching and constipation. If these side effects occur, discontinue the painkillers. If necessary, you can replace this with another over the counter pain medication. Should the pain persist and not subside, please contact your dentist immediately.


After surgery it is normal for the body temperature to be slightly elevated for 24 hours.


Bleeding will be under control by the time that you leave the theatre/practice. Some oozing or blood spotted saliva may persist for up to 24 hours. Should excessive bleeding occur, it can be controlled with pressure. Apply a folded gauze, which was dipped in water and wringed over the area for 45 minutes. This may need to be repeated. No spitting or excessive rinsing is allowed. Should bleeding persist, please contact your dentist immediately.


Nausea may result from the general anaesthetics or the pain killers. Drinking a small glass of carbonate cool drink will generally control mild nausea. Should the nausea persist, please contact your dentist immediately.


Oral Hygiene

Your oral hygiene should not be neglected. Brush your teeth as usual and gently rinse with warm salt water after meals. Do not brush on the surgical area for 4 – 5 days.

What food can I eat after surgery?

Soft foods and lots of liquids will be required for 24 – 48 hours after surgery. Avoid hot, spicy foods. Do not drink through a straw or smoke (if you do) for at least 48 hours. If you had surgery only on one side of the mouth, favour the other side for chewing the first few days.

How does the surgery affect my daily activities?

Activity should be restricted to the minimum for the first few days. Strenuous work or exercise can prompt bleeding. If you had general anaesthetics or sedation, you need to be driven by someone. Under no circumstances are you allowed to drive for at least 24 hours after surgery.