After Your Oral Surgery: 10 Dos and Don'ts for an Optimal Recovery

After Your Oral Surgery: 10 Dos and Don'ts for an Optimal Recovery

It’s not usually our first choice for your smile, but you may be among the millions of people in the United States who need oral surgery. Your procedure might include extracting a severely damaged tooth, removing painfully impacted wisdom teeth, or placing the root-like portion of dental implants.

Fortunately, oral surgery is less painful, and outcomes are more successful than ever, thanks to ongoing advances in dental technology, materials, and surgical techniques. Our team at Lancaster Dental Care Associates in Lancaster, California, delivers state-of-the-art family and cosmetic dentistry services in a caring, friendly environment focused on your comfort.

Here’s a 10-point list of dos and don’ts our team developed to help ensure optimal recovery after oral surgery:   

1. Do take your medicine

After oral surgery, you’ll leave the Lancaster Dental Care Associates office with written instructions from our oral surgeon, Dr. Issakharian, regarding post-surgical home care. 

Your aftercare treatment may include antibiotics to prevent infection and pain meds for comfort. Take these medicines as directed and contact the office if your pain doesn’t resolve as expected, usually peaking within a day or two of the procedure and decreasing steadily after that.

2. Do get your rest

Most people can return to routine activities (other than strenuous exercise) 24 hours after their procedure. However, we do ask that you rest for at least a day to give your body a chance to focus on healing.

3. Do use an ice pack

Apply an ice pack to your cheek several times a day for 15-20 minutes to reduce swelling and pain. Try a pack of frozen vegetables if your first aid kit doesn’t include a reusable pack. For comfort, peas or corn are less lumpy than other veggies.

4. Do rinse your mouth, but gently does it

Change gauze pads as directed, usually several times on the day of surgery, until your bleeding stops or becomes minimal. Then rinse your mouth gently every few hours to remove food particles and other debris. 

Follow your surgeon’s directions about brushing after oral surgery, using a manual brush for better control, and avoiding the surgical site.

5. Do elevate your head

Keep your head elevated when resting or sleeping for one to two days after oral surgery. This reduces blood flow to the surgical site, reducing pressure and decreasing the throbbing pain that can occur with every heartbeat.

6. Do eat and chew carefully

Avoid icy or hot liquids or food, and stick with oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, and other easy-to-chew items. Avoid chewing on the same side as the surgical site, and rinse as directed after eating.

7. Don’t eat spicy foods

Spicy or acidic foods and liquids can irritate the tissue in and around the surgical site, increasing inflammation and pain.

8. Don’t smoke

Smoking slows healing by restricting healthy circulation. In addition, the cheek action used during inhalation can disrupt clot formation. This may lead to dry socket, a painful condition that exposes nerves and bone in the jaw.

9. Don’t use a straw

Using straws after oral surgery can also lead to dry socket. So sip gently for two or three days after the procedure.

10. Don’t ignore persistent pain, fever, or unusual bleeding

Your aftercare instructions include information regarding what to expect after oral surgery. Call the office immediately if you develop unexpected symptoms such as fever, increased bleeding, or worsening pain. These symptoms could indicate a complication that requires medical attention.  

Schedule an appointment at Lancaster Dental Care Associates today. Call the office or book an appointment online for outstanding oral health care.

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