Post-operative recovery is based on three factors:

  1. Health status of patient

  2. The type of surgery carried out

  3. Compliance with post-operative instructions

For minor surgery in an otherwise healthy person, recovery is short. Mild tenderness and swelling for a few days. This may include removal of one or two teeth or a biopsy. For more involved surgery, such as removal of four deeply impacted wisdom teeth, recovery will be one to two weeks. This does not mean you will be bed bound for two weeks. However, it is advisable to not have any rigorous activities or important events on during this time. Specific instructions for your case will be give to you after the procedure by your surgeon.


Antibiotic prophylaxis is a broad term used to describe the administration of antibiotics (drugs that target bacteria) to patients who do not have an active infection. It is used to prevent an infection from occurring both at the surgical site or at a distant site in the body. They may be taken at the time of surgery or a course afterwards.


There are specific medical conditions where this has been indicated in the past including certain cardiac conditions or patients with joint prostheses. The guidelines behind these have changed over the years and it is best to discuss this with your surgeon, or medical specialist. Other times may be due to patients with a compromised immune system (for example; poorly controlled diabetics, patients undergoing chemotherapy, patients taking immuno-suppressant drugs such as prednisone or methotrexate).


Most fit, healthy patients do not require antibiotics after surgery as long as other oral hygiene instructions are carried out. Your surgeon should not prescribe antibiotics after surgery unless it is absolutely necessary. Inappropriate prescription can lead to an increase in microbial resistance, but more immediately the risk of allergy or gastro-intestinal upset. What is better practice is to have an appropriately timed review appointment and if there are any signs of infection, to then commence antibiotics. This will be dependent on many factors including your medical history, surgery carried out and oral hygiene. Discuss this with your surgeon if you have any concerns.


A common question with surgery is, “How much pain will I be in afterwards?” Pain itself can be quite subjective but surgery anywhere on your body will have post-operative tenderness and limitation of function as you heal. This is a protective measure from your body against further injury. You will be prescribed appropriate analgesics (pain killers) after surgery. This will be dependent on many factors including your medical history and the surgery carried out. 


What makes surgery in your mouth unique in comparison to other parts of your body (for example your foot) is that it is very difficult to rest your mouth. You need to eat, speak, and show emotions such as smile. You are normally more conscious of discomfort in your facial region because it is so personal. But, it is advised to go about your routine as best as you can. This puts the discomfort at the back of your mind. It is recommended to restrict yourself a little in some activities such as eating softer foods and no intense exercise for a week.


Dr Atkinson will review you to ensure you are healing without complication. This will be back in the clinic that you had your original consultation. There is no cost for your review appointments.