After Your Oral Biopsy

Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of the instructions may apply.  Common sense will often dictate what you should do.  However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification. To download and print a copy of these instructions click the following:  Biopsy Home Care Instructions


EXERCISE CARE:  Do not disturb the surgical area today.  You may gently rinse with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon per 8 oz of water).  You may brush your teeth gently.  If the area of biopsy is immediately adjacent to your teeth, please use caution when brushing.  PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since this is very detrimental to healing. 

OOZING:  Intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight is normal.  Bleeding may be controlled by placing fresh gauze, moistened with tap water, over the area and applying gentle pressure.

PERSISTENT BLEEDING:  Bleeding should never be severe.  If bleeding persists or becomes heavy apply steady pressure with moistened gauze for 30 minutes.  Repeat the procedure with the gauze and then try a tea bag wrapped in moist gauze for 20-30 minutes.  If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office. 

SWELLING:  Swelling is often associated with oral surgery.  It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied gently to the surgical area, if possible (depending on the site of biopsy).  This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery.  

PAIN:  Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better.  You must allow time for the medication to work.   You must also take the medication on a regular schedule.  The most severe pain is usually within six hours after the local anesthetic wears off, after that your need for medicine should decrease. 

If you find that you are taking large amounts of pain medicine at frequent intervals, please call our office. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.

DIET:  Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort.  Avoid extremely hot foods. It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or soft foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.)  Avoid extremely hot or spice foods (ketchup, vinegar, mustard).  It is important not to skip meals.  With regular nourishment you will feel better, heal better, and have less discomfort. 

HEALING:  The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling.  Some bruising or changes in normal appearance at the surgical site may be expected.  Depending on the site of biopsy, bruising could extend around the eyes and into the neck.  Sutures will dissolve on their own over the next five to fourteen days.  Healing can be aided by the use of frequent warm salt water rinses (1/4 tsp. salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water) 

SYMPTOMS OF INFECTION:  Bright red, hard swelling near surgical site that is increasing rather than decreasing 3-4 days after surgery.  Elevated temperature of 101 degrees or more.  Increasing pain not relieved by medication.  Pus or drainage from the surgical site that may be accompanied by a foul taste or odor.  Should any or all of these symptoms occur, please notify our office immediately.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress during normal office hours, do not hesitate to call us.  Outside of business hours, the doctor can be reached by calling our office and following the prompts for emergency care.  Calling during office hours will afford a faster response to your question or concern.