Proper Nutrition for Oral Surgery Patients

Patients who have undergone oral surgeryrequire special nourishment during recovery in order to ensure proper healing and good general health in the weeks and months following surgery. During this time, the body’s nutritional needs change dramatically as it works to heal, but certain oral surgery procedures may make it difficult to consume the appropriate types and amounts of food. These tips for keeping your body nourished after surgery are provided by licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Stay Hydrated

The most crucial element of any post-surgery diet is water. The body cannot function or heal properly following surgery without an adequate supply of water. Patients should consume at least eight glasses of water per day, taking care to follow their surgeon’s orders regarding how to drink. Unless otherwise advised, straws should be avoided for the first few days.

Surgeries that Require a Liquid Diet

Surgeries that treat facial fractures, problems with the temporomandibular joint or jaw problems may require that a patient adhere to a strict liquid diet for several days following the procedure. This ensures proper healing and decreased discomfort during recovery.

Because the average adult’s calorie and protein needs increase after surgery, it is often challenging to consume adequate nourishment in liquid form. Milk, protein shakes, pureed foods and other liquid supplements are easier to consume while surgical sites are healing, especially if swelling and pain are present. It is important to ensure that your body receives the appropriate amount of calories and vitamins to remain healthy throughout the recovery period. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will provide you with information regarding the types and consistencies of nutritional supplements that are appropriate for your particular circumstances.

Solid Foods Following Oral Surgery

Even if a liquid diet is not required, your oral surgeon may recommend a semi-solid diet for several days or weeks after your procedure. The types of foods included in this diet require minimal chewing and movement of the jaw, which aids in faster healing and improved comfort. Some foods commonly suggested include the following:

  • Soft, flaky fish, such as tilapia or cod, without breading
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Very well-cooked pastas
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Soup or broth
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Creamed corn
  • Cream of wheat

Depending on the type of oral surgery performed, this diet may be recommended for up to six or more weeks after the procedure. Your oral surgeon’s primary concern is the proper healing of your surgical sites, so following his or her specific instructions is extremely important. Adhering to a surgeon-recommended liquid or soft food diet will help to promote a faster, more comfortable recovery.

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