Maxillofacial Post Operative Care

Depending on the nature of the surgery and the circumstances under which treatment was needed, some Maxilliofacial and Oral Surgery patients may require hospitalisation and an extended time to recover.

The following information is only a guide and post-operative patients should follow professional instructions to the letter.

Care plans should be discussed with the surgeon in advance and any known adverse reaction to anaesthetics, pain medications and antibiotics should be raised.

All time periods are indicative only and will vary based on each individual case, the nature of the surgery performed, medications prescribed and general health of the patient.

General post-operative care instructions may also apply.

What to Expect

Bleeding in the treated area along with swelling and bruising of the jaw, face and neck is common following surgery. Pain will peak in the 24-48 period immediately following surgery and beginning to subside following, but a stiff sensation in the jaw can remain for up to two weeks.

Blood loss, ingestion of operative fluids into the stomach during surgery, anaesthesia and medications can combine to cause nausea and vomiting following surgery.

Numbness of the facial region including chin, lips, tongue, nose and cheek is common and can take up to two weeks to fully wear off.

Gauze swabs or clean handkerchiefs should be used frequently in the post-operative period, placed into the affected areas where bleeding occurs and bitten down on with consistent pressure for up to 30 minutes at a time, with replacement as needed depending on blood loss.

The head should be raised during resting to aid in the reduction of swelling and reduce the ingestion of post-operative fluids from the mouth.


Patients will be medicated throughout the procedure and may still feel numb for up to several hours following surgery. Antibiotics will be prescribed to treat any active, present infection and prevent infection during the recovery process.

Pain Medication

Pain management for maxillofacial and oral surgery may include local anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory medications and oral analgesics.

Patients are treated with long-acting local anaesthetic during the procedure and may experience numbness for up to six hours following surgery.

Once at home, pain killers may be prescribed and should be taken according to instruction. Depending on the nature of the surgery, patients may be prescribed medications that can be taken within 4-6 hour windows in the first 48 hours following surgery.

Some pain medications can cause drowsiness. Refer to the prescription and avoid driving during the immediate recovery period.

Ice packs may also be indicated to aid the reduction of swelling but should never be applied directly to the skin.


Antibiotics are prescribed to treat any active infection and to prevent infection from forming.

If prescribed, it is essential the full course of antibiotics be taken as directed and the full course completed.

Rinsing and Cleaning

Rinsing and spitting is not recommended immediately following a maxilliofacial surgical procedure as it can cause additional bleeding.

Gauze swabs are recommended to help absorb bleeding instead and should be replaced every 30 minutes.

Following the first 48 hours, warm salt water rinses or use of an antiseptic mouthwash will help to aid healing and recovery.

This should be done several times a day and completed routinely after eating, before going to sleep and after rising in the morning.

This routine should be maintained until otherwise instructed.

Extraction sites should not be cleaned with anything other than with the regular daily rinse routine. Remaining teeth can continue to be cleaned as normal, although taking additional care is recommended.

Rest and Relaxation

It is advisable to maintain a quiet profile for at least the first 5 days following surgery, even for patients that recover quickly.

It may be advisable to avoid exercise for up to 2-3 weeks in order to avoid raising blood pressure, as an elevated pulse may continue to cause pain in the surgical sites.

Eating and Drinking

Post-operative patients are discouraged from eating and drinking immediately following surgery as numbness to the face may result in biting, burning or otherwise injuring the teeth, gums and lips.

Very hot or cold food and beverage should be avoided due to increased sensitivity in the tooth and gums.

Patients should avoid chewing on the treated side of the mouth until pain and swelling have passed and depending on the procedure, should not chew on the treated site for up to 6 weeks.

Adjust the diet to include soft food and exclude hard, sticky, chewy and brittle foods for up to a week following the root canal procedure.


To get professional help with the post-operative care, visit one of our location pages below.

Dentist Sydney | Dentist Canberra | Dentist Melbourne | Dentist Brisbane | Dentist Perth | Dentist Gold Coast |
Dentist Adelaide | Dentist Hobart | Dentist Auckland

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