After your dental surgery

Dental day surgery under general anaesthetic

If you have dental treatment under general anaesthetic in the dental day surgery unit, you do not need to stay in hospital overnight. 

After treatment, we take you to the recovery room. This is where you wake up. 

Recovery in hospital

When you wake up in the recovery room, you have an oxygen mask on your face. This is normal after an anaesthetic. The oxygen helps to clear the anaesthetic from your body while you recover.

If you had teeth removed (extractions), you will have a fabric dressing in your mouth. There might be some blood. 

We check your blood pressure and pulse regularly while you are in the recovery room. We also check your oxygen levels, using a clip on your finger. 

If you have any pain or discomfort, please tell your nurse. They can give you medicine to help. If you feel unwell, the nurse can give you anti-sickness medicine.

Leaving the hospital

You need to stay in the recovery room for 2 hours. This is so that the dental team can make sure you are well enough to go home. 

You can leave the hospital when your nurse thinks that you are well enough to go home. We offer you squash or water when you feel ready. 

The dental team explains the treatment that you had to you and the adult with you. They explain how to look after your mouth and take any medicines that you need at home. 

Please ask the dental team any questions that you have.


You need someone to take you home from hospital and stay with you overnight. 

  • Please arrange for a responsible adult to come with you to the hospital and take you home after your treatment.
  • The adult must be able to stay with you for at least 8 hours after you leave the hospital.
  • If you do not have someone with you, your dental surgery might be cancelled.   

After you leave hospital

Although you might feel fine, your reasoning, reflexes, judgement, coordination and skill can be affected for 48 hours after surgery.

When you have left the hospital, you should not be left on your own. Make sure that a responsible adult stays with you. 

Please rest until the next day. Do not go to work or school on the day after your surgery. 

For 48 hours after surgery, do not: 

  • drive any vehicle or ride a bicycle
  • operate any machinery, including domestic appliances
  • cook, use sharp utensils (kitchen tools) or pour hot or boiling liquids
  • drink alcohol
  • smoke
  • take sleeping tablets
  • make any important decisions or sign any contracts
  • use the internet
  • be responsible for children or other dependants

If you are worried about your condition when you are at home, please phone the dental day surgery unit.

Looking after your mouth

You can avoid infection by looking after your mouth after surgery. 

Symptoms and signs of infection

If you had a tooth removed (extraction) and think that there is an infection, the pain and swelling will usually get worse about 4 to 6 days after surgery.

Read more about managing symptoms after surgery.

Follow-up appointment

Before you leave the dental day surgery unit, we tell you if you need a follow-up appointment. You send you an appointment letter in the post.

We also send a letter explaining what dental treatment you had to your local dentist.

Resource number: 2273/VER4
Last reviewed: August 2021
Next review due: August 2024

Contact us

If you have any concerns before or after your surgery, contact the dental day surgery unit.

Phone: 020 7188 7188 extension 53502

Location: 23 Floor, Tower Wing, Guy’s Hospital

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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