You may have oral surgery for various reasons—to remove an impacted tooth, for a facial or jaw injury, to install dental implants—as a few examples. After oral surgery, you can expect some discomfort as you mend. But what’s normal? What can you do to speed up healing? And what do you need to avoid?
After Oral Surgery Recovery: Make It Quick & Painless
It’s normal for your mouth to be tender for a few days after oral surgery. But in most cases, over-the-counter medication should relieve your pain. In other cases, your doctor may prescribe painkillers.
Consider taking the pain medicine as soon after surgery as you feel any discomfort because it’s easier to prevent pain than to get rid of it once it surfaces. Always alert your doctor of any side effects from the medicine, or if you have a fever.
While your doctor’s instructions may vary depending on your reason for surgery, generally speaking, you can take several steps to minimize discomfort after oral surgery.
- Don’t overexert yourself the day of your surgery.
- Apply ice packs to your face for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, 15 minutes on, etc. to reduce swelling.
- On your first night, prop your head with pillows to prevent extra swelling or bleeding.
- Take any pain medications or antibiotics only as directed by your doctor. Avoid aspirin because it thins your blood and may cause your mouth to bleed.
- Avoid bending, heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for a few days after oral surgery.
Giving Proper Attention Directly to Your Spot of Surgery
While the above tips will help your body heal more quickly, you may wonder what you can and can’t do directly with your recently operated-on oral parts.
Follow your doctor’s eating and drinking directions. As long as you are bleeding, stick to a liquid diet. Once the bleeding stops in the first day or two, you can eat soft foods like smoothies, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. However:
- Avoid hot food or drinks until any numbness wears off, so you don’t unknowingly burn your mouth!
- Avoid alcohol for 24 hours because it can delay your healing process. Note any instructions on medications to avoid the use of alcohol, too.
- Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in Vitamins A and C to help you heal more quickly.
- You may need to avoid hard foods like carrots or popcorn for 6 to 8 weeks.
Also, be sure to keep your mouth clean:
- Your doctor may advise you not to rinse for the first 24 hours. But then you will likely need to gently rinse with warm salt water or a chlorhexidine rinse four times daily, especially after each meal or snack, to remove food from the surgical area.
- Always wait for your doctor’s orders before you begin brushing or flossing again, and do so carefully around your recovering zone.
- Plan to put off wearing partial dentures or full dentures until at least 10 days after oral surgery.
Refrain from smoking as long as possible, because the sucking motion of smoking can interfere with blood clots that are forming to heal you.
Recover Smoothly After Oral Surgery – Recapped
- Expect some bleeding, swelling and pain after oral surgery. But if it’s excessive, call your doctor. Also, call your doctor if you react to a medication or if the dressing around your surgery site falls out.
- Plan to limit your activity for a few days after surgery and use ice packs to manage swelling.
- Plan to have a limited diet for a few days. You will gradually add more to your diet as directed by your doctor.
- Follow your doctor’s orders to keep your mouth clean.
Help make your oral surgery more successful by enlisting a trusted, caring professional from The Happy Tooth, and by following instructions during your recovery period. Your results will be better. You’ll recover more quickly without complications. Your mouth will be healthier, which will make you happier!