Having dental surgery is just like any other kind of surgery. You need to recover and may have to manage some discomfort. Here are 7 tips for a smooth recovery from oral surgery.
1. Make sure to rest
Oral surgery often requires anesthesia. Anesthesia may cause drowsiness for several hours, so use the time after surgery to relax and put your feet up. Additionally, your dentist may have prescribed pain medication. As these medications can make you groggy, it is best to take the doses when you won’t have to drive or be alert.
2. Manage swelling with ice packs
A common side effect of oral surgery is swelling of the gums and cheeks. Keep an ice pack on your cheek for 15 minutes, and then remove it for another 15 minutes. This routine minimizes the swelling and discomfort.
3. Take your medication as your dentist prescribed
Pain medication often causes drowsiness and other side effects. Make sure to take the pills as directed on the bottle or how your dentist told you. If the pain is still severe after approximately 48 hours, call our office. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to take after your oral surgery. Make sure you take all the pills according to the directions to avoid an infection.
4. Keep your mouth clean and free of germs
Infections are possible after oral surgery, so it is very important to keep your mouth clean. If your mouth is too sore to brush your teeth, rinse with salt and warm water several times throughout the day. This rinse kills germs and reduces your pain and swelling. Some dental procedures may not allow rinsing, so it is important to ask your dentist what she thinks is best.
5. Replace the gauze as often as necessary
Many dental procedures result in a bit of bleeding where the surgery occurred. It is important to keep clean, firm gauze on the surgical site to minimize the bleeding. Check with your dentist first, but it is generally wise to change the gauze every hour or so. Though it may be a nuisance, try not to bite or chew the gauze while it is in place.
6. Eat soft foods and liquids
It is common for your mouth to be sore after oral surgery. Your jaw may also feel stiff if your mouth was open for a long time during the procedure. Eating soft foods and liquids will help reduce the strain on your jaw. Common suggestions include: pasta, eggs, smoothies and shakes.
7. Avoid foods and substances that will harm your mouth
Your mouth will be tender after dental surgery. It is best to avoid hot and cold foods and beverages during this time. Alcohol and tobacco also delay healing, so avoid these substances for 2 weeks or more.
If you just had oral surgery, you deserve the best care.
When to Call a Dentist
Call a dentist the minute you feel any discomfort or tooth pain.