After a Biopsy Procedure

After a biopsy procedure, there are several instructions to follow to avoid any post-operative complications. The day of surgery, do not disturb the surgical site. We recommend that you rest and keep your head elevated 30-45 degrees that day (Example: prop your head up on two pillows). You may see sutures or where the area was cauterized by the laser, this is normal.


Once you leave the office, change your gauze every 30-45 minutes until the bleeding has stopped. Make sure you moisten the gauze with cool water before placing it into the mouth to keep it from sticking to the site. Proper placement and pressure of the moist gauze should slow and stop the bleeding.

Swelling is to be expected and usually reaches its peak around 48-72 hours after surgery. To minimize swelling, make sure you continue salt water rinses 3-4 times daily as well as your ibuprofen as directed. Ice chips/popsicles will help soothe the areas in your mouth. If you had a biopsy of the lip, use an ice pack.

Pain Medicine

There are several ranges of discomfort that are normal once sensation returns. The tongue can be somewhat unpredictable. If you had a procedure on the tongue, it is not uncommon to have a great deal of discomfort when the numbness wears off, but it usually wears off fairly quickly after it peaks. You should begin taking your prescribed pain medication 2-3 hours after your surgery. This will get you ahead on the pain since your numbing medicine should last anywhere from 4-6 hours after surgery. If you were given Ibuprofen 600mg, please take it 3 times daily for a minimum of 5 days to help with pain. Even if you are not in pain, continue it to help minimize swelling and delay soreness.


Once the bleeding has stopped and the sensation has come back, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid hot liquids or foods for the first day. Soft foods and liquids can be eaten on the day of surgery, and should continue for the first 5 days. (Examples: applesauce, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, soup, etc.)

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is critical to the healing process. The evening after your surgery, it is OK to lightly brush your teeth but you need to stay away from the surgical sites. We recommend NO RINSING until the day after your surgery. Warm salt water rinses should be used at least 4 times a day. By “salt water”, we recommend a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.

Possible Complications

  • If you experience numbness of the tongue/lip/chin, there is no need to worry. This is usually temporary and will return to normal. Nerves can be bruised when working in the mouth and it takes a little longer for the sensation to return to normal. Just remember to be careful so you don’t bite your tongue/lip/cheek.
  • Nausea/vomiting can sometimes occur after surgery. If you experience either of these, please call our office and we can get a prescription called in.
  • You should always be careful the day of surgery when getting up to use the restroom, etc. lightheadedness can occur very easily once you have been sedated. Be sure to have someone stay with you for 6-8 hours after surgery to avoid falling or passing out from being dizzy.
  • Occasionally patients may feel something that feels like a root left behind in their mouth. These hard areas are the bony walls that surrounded the tooth before it was removed. They usually smooth up over time but if not, Dr. Capes can remove them.
  • Slight elevation of temperature after surgery is not uncommon. Tylenol or Ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever. If the fever persists, contact our office.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your progress or any symptom you are experiencing, please call our office. By calling this number you can reach Dr. Capes 24 hours a day.

Contact Our Friendly Oral Surgery Team for Elevated, Comfortable Care

We know oral surgery can be intimidating, but we're here to give you an excellent smile. Our oral surgeons are highly experienced, so you can rest assured that we'll take good care of you. If you have questions or want to schedule a consultation, don't hesitate to reach out to us!

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