Post operative instructons

Post operative instructions will differ depending on what procedure was undertaken. All instructions will be thoroughly discussed with you by a registered nurse prior to discharge. In recovery you will also be given a relevant copy of instructions to take home.

The following instructions apply to most extraction and implant surgeries.


Rest for a few hours immediately following treatment and avoid strenuous exercise.


Do not rinse your mouth until the following day. Then for 1 week, rinse your mouth gently after meals using a mouthwash made by dissolving ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Hold the solution in your mouth for 2 minutes and then discard. Avoid over vigorous rinsing.


Avoid HOT food and fluids, alcohol, hard or chewy foods for the first day, then normal diet as tolerated. Choose cool drinks and minced or soft foods, this may be required for the next few days for comfort. Avoid sucking or interfering with the wound.


The operated area often oozes blood for up to 8 hours. To help control bleeding, sit upright or rest with the head and shoulders raised. Pressure can be applied to the bleeding area by biting firmly on a gauze pad or clean handkerchief for 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary.


Any pain or soreness can be relieved by taking a pain relieving preparation prescribed by your surgeon. Use any medicines prescribed or supplied according to directions. Teeth next to the operative site may ache for a short time.


Dissolving stitches (sutures) are routinely placed. These usually loosen and fall out between 5-10 days.


There will be some numbness around the operated area from the local anaestheic injections for up to 10 hours. Care should be taken with eating and drinking, to avoid damaging the lips while they are numb.


There may be significant swelling the next day. This usually resolves after 3 days. If there is swelling over the jaw muscles, it can cause a limitation of mouth opening for up to 1 week.

Retaining the Appearance of Teeth

Many of the procedures we undertake require the removal of teeth. No patient is ever required to go home without at least a temporary placement of teeth to maintain appearance. This is discussed during your consultation. Your dentist or dental technician can create a plate or denture to be available on the day of surgery if required.

The nurses really have your care in their best interests. From one medical professional to another, I’d highly reccomend the team here and would be more than happy for them to treat any of my family without any hesitation.

- Mr GJ, Tauranga


Hilotherapy is a relatively new application of the age old idea of using ice on an injury.  Cool temperatures reduce pain and swelling but ice is actually too cold.  Research has found that the ideal temperature to reduce pain and swelling is 15 degrees. The Hilotherm system is used to apply this exact temperature on the tissues continuously for the first 24 -48 hours resulting in faster recovery and less need for pharmaceutical pain relief.

Cool therapy or cryotherapy is well established for sports injuries and after surgery. After tissue injury there is a release of biochemicals that are mediators of inflammation which make blood vessels dilate and become more leaky. This causes swelling and also sensitises the tissues to pain. Applying cool therapy inhibits the release of the inflammatory mediators and constricts blood vessels making them less leaky. It has been found that temperatures below 15 degrees causes vessels to dilate and reduces the effect of cool therapy. Maintaining the best temperature over long periods is difficult to achieve with ice based strategies. The Hilotherm technology controls the temperature in the most therapeutic range.

Most patients will derive significant benefit from the machine in the first 48 hours. After 48 hours there is no new swelling. It is safe and beneficial to be used full time if desired for the first 48 hours. The most benefit is gained by near continuous use in the first 24 hours after surgery.

People will often sleep with the cuff on but during sleep if the patient changes position the tubing can kink and the flow can be obstructed causing the machine to alarm. If this is too interrupting for sleep the machine may need to be discontinued overnight. A good starting temperature is 15 degrees but if this is too cold then the temperature can be adjusted up on the machine until it becomes comfortable.

Hilotherms are available to hire following surgery if recommended by your surgeon. If living outside of Tauranga we offer a courier service to enable easy return. 

Please watch our instructional video for information on set up and use. If you encounter any issues with your Hilotherm please feel free to call us on 07 578 8847.


Tauranga Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery provide high quality specialist oral surgical services for patients in Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region.