Ensuring a Successful Recovery After Oral Surgery

Anyone who has ever undergone any type of surgical procedure understands the importance of a full recovery. The faster you are able to get back to a state of normalcy in your daily life, the better. The recovery period following oral surgery is no different. Taking care of yourself properly in the hours, days and weeks after your procedure can significantly reduce the time that you find yourself out of commission as well as ensure that you experience the least amount of pain and inconvenience possible.

The Do List: Guidelines for Oral Surgery Patients

The following list includes tips provided by experienced dental professionals regarding what to do after your procedure to ensure a successful recovery.

1. Stay on Top of Your Pain

Pain and mild discomfort are generally to be expected during the first days following your surgery. Any intense pain that lasts for more than these few days should be reported to your oral surgeon immediately. Moderate pain, however, should be controlled with either a prescription given to you by your surgeon or over-the-counter painkillers.

Keep to a regular schedule, following directions that come with the medication. It is highly recommended that aspirin not be used, as this can cause the blood to thin and lead to excessive bleeding at the surgical site. Remember to take your medication before pain becomes a problem, as it is much easier to prevent pain than relieve it.

2. Get Plenty of Rest

This may seem like a given for anyone who has recently had any kind of surgery, but many oral surgery patients neglect to give their bodies enough time and rest to recuperate before returning to normal activities. Exercising should be limited to moderate levels and should not be performed before at least 24 hours have passed. Avoid bending over and lifting heavy objects for a minimum of three days.

3. Remember Your Rinse

After the initial 24 hours, rinse your mouth gently with warm, cleansing salt water. Your surgeon may provide you with a plastic syringe specially designed to carefully irrigate the site four times per day and after eating. This will ensure that any food particles are completely removed from the area. Be careful not to spit out the solution forcefully, as this may result in the removal of the clot that is needed in the healing process.

4. Take Care with Your Diet

Your surgeon will give you some ideas of foods that you should eat in the days following your procedure. Some good examples are soft foods like yogurt and mashed potatoes as well as liquids such as broths and soups.

The Don’t List: What to Avoid After Oral Surgery

1. Don’t Irritate the Surgical Site

Aggressive rinsing and brushing can lengthen the amount of time required for a full recovery significantly and may result in increased pain or bleeding. Avoid touching the site with your fingers or your tongue. For the first few days, resist the temptation to smoke cigarettes, blow your nose, suck anything through straws and spit, as these may dislodge the blood clot.

2. Don’t Wait to Report Severe Pain

While some swelling, pain and lingering discomfort are normal and to be expected after your surgery, increased bleeding and pain should be reported to your surgeon as soon as is possible. These may be signs of a worsening condition or an infection and should be evaluated in order to determine the source of the problem. Additional treatment or medication may be required and delaying a visit to your dentist for any extended period of time may result in the need for more comprehensive care.

Gum tissue should fully heal in approximately one month, depending on the surgery performed. Be sure to contact your surgeon with any questions you have regarding the procedure and recovery.

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