Oral surgery is a dental specialty that refers to any surgical procedure performed on your jaw, teeth, and gums. General dentists can conduct some oral surgeries such as tooth extraction, while more complex issues require an expert. Although oral surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, a recovery period is still necessary. If you plan to undergo oral surgery, here is some more information on how to make your recovery process smooth and short.
Follow Your Surgeon’s Instructions
The key to a full and fast recovery is following your surgeon’s instructions to the letter. All the instructions and advice can prevent complications after your surgery and promote healing. Whether your doctor tells you not to brush your teeth or that you should only rinse your mouth with salty water, listen and adhere to it. Your surgeon knows what is best for you, and your chances of healing depend on whether you follow the instructions.
Get Plenty of Rest
You will need plenty of rest after the surgery as part of your recovery process. Although some people can resume normal activities after 24 hours, you need a minimum of 2 days of rest after the surgery. When sleeping or lying down, ensure that you prop your head and keep it elevated to promote blood flow and reduce swelling. You can help reduce swelling by using an ice pack on the area in 30-minute increments with 15-minute breaks for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Take Your Medication
In some cases, you may need help with pain management for the first few days after surgery, so your surgeon will prescribe medication for you. Everyone has varying degrees of pain tolerance, but in all cases, it is easier to prevent pain than treat it after the fact. Take your medication as advised, and do not skip doses so they will work as intended. Many people find that the pain is significantly reduced 24-48 hours after treatment.
Eat Soft Foods
After your surgery, your mouth will be sensitive. To avoid irritating the wound, stick to soft foods, and maintain a healthy diet to boost your immunity and aid recovery. Some of the foods you can eat include:
- Instant oatmeal
- Fruit smoothies
- Protein shakes
- Refried beans
Keep Your Mouth Clean
One way to encourage recovery after oral surgery is by practicing good oral hygiene. Your surgeon will advise against rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery as any suction or spitting will delay healing. After that, however, you can rinse with warm salt water four times a day for a few days. You should also rinse your mouth after eating to get rid of any food particles. Cleaning your mouth prevents the buildup of bacteria that cause infection.
Things to Avoid
You will need to avoid strenuous activities in the first few days after surgery. This is because they can increase your blood pressure and may trigger bleeding. You should also stay away from chewy or hard foods and avoid using a straw when taking liquids. Suction and hard foods can disturb the treated area and dislodge the blood clot that is necessary for optimal healing.
While oral hygiene is crucial, keep away from the area when brushing and flossing. Remember to brush gently and only use a soft bristled brush to avoid injuries. Lastly, avoid smoking and consuming alcohol for at least one week after surgery, as they can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.
Go to Your Follow-Up Appointments
The best way to ensure you are on the right path to recovery is by honoring all your follow-up appointments. The follow-up visits enable your surgeon to monitor your recovery and identify and address any complications.
If you experience fever, bleeding, or difficulty swallowing or breathing, you should immediately contact your surgeon. The same applies if you are in too much pain that does not respond to medication. These symptoms may signify an infection or allergic reaction to the anesthetic used during the procedure. By taking action immediately, you help contain the situation and prevent further complications.
Take Charge of Your Recovery
Every person’s recovery time is different. However, you can expect a quicker recovery if you follow the tips above and listen to your surgeon’s instructions. Regardless of how well you feel, always trust the professionals to know what is best for your oral health.
Do you have any tips for recovering from oral surgery? Feel free to share them in the comments below!