The recovery process following an oral surgery procedure differs from person to person. Your dentist will send you home with information on how to care for yourself properly. In most cases, the pain should lessen by the second day after the procedure. Generally, recovery will happen within two to three weeks following the procedure. Here are a few tips about putting yourself on the road to recovery for quick reference:
1. Controling Bleeding in Recovery
Following surgery, continued bleeding for approximately two hours is relatively normal. Your dentist or oral surgeon will place a gauze pad over the wound to help reduce the bleeding. It is important to keep constant pressure on the wound to help stop the bleeding, even if the gauze gets soggy. About an hour following surgery, switch out the gauze pad(s) for a new one. If the bleeding does not stop within two hours, please contact your dentist or surgeon. Keep in mind that spotty bleeding may occur from time to time within the first few days of recovery.
2. Managing Pain in Recovery
It is normal to experience tenderness and pain after oral surgery. Start taking the pain killers your dentist or oral surgeon has prescribed to you following the procedure to proactively prevent pain. Don’t wait until you are in extreme pain! Take your prescription regularly to stay ahead of the pain. If your dentist or surgeon does not prescribe pain killers, over-the-counter Ibuprofen might be appropriate. To minimize swelling and bruising, apply ice packs to your face in 10-minute intervals. Doing this may also help lessen pain while recovering from oral surgery.
3. Take It Easy in Recovery
Take it easy and rest a lot following your procedure. After any oral surgery procedure, you should go home, relax and avoid strenuous or taxing activity. You should not exercise for 12-24 hours. Avoid heaving lifting for two to three days. If you want to lie down, try propping your head up with pillows to alleviate swelling and the risk of excess bleeding.
4. Keep It Clean in Recovery
Clean your mouth carefully and gently, emphasis on gently. For the first 24 hours, you should not rinse your mouth. After that 24-hour period, rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water. Gently swish the warm salt water in your mouth four to five times daily for three or four days, or as recommended by your dentist or surgeon. It is okay to brush your teeth, but brush carefully. Avoid brushing the areas that are healing in your mouth.
5. What should you be eating after Dental Surgery?
For the first two days following surgery, try sticking to liquids and soft foods only. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in milkshakes, ice cream, smoothies and pudding. Hurrah! No straws for those soft, yummy drinks though. Use a spoon or drink milkshakes and smoothies from a glass. Foods such as pasta, oatmeal, yogurt, mashed potatoes and refried beans are other soft food options. You should be able to resume a normal diet within seven days following surgery.
In the first hours following surgery, be cautious of food temperature. You do not want to burn the inside of your mouth. Be aware. While the numbness wears off, you may not be able to sense the hot temperatures or feel the burning of hot food. Avoid tough or crunchy foods as well. Enjoy softer foods that require less chewing such as pasta, eggs and soft sandwiches. This will help you keep from biting your cheeks or tongue. Avoid any food that may contain seeds or nuts that can get stuck in the extraction sites.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will perform the surgery and guide you through the oral surgery recovery process, too. If the pain following surgery continues to worsen, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist or surgeon. Also, contact your dentist or surgeon if you have any concerns about the surgery site, such as continued bleeding and irritation. Make sure that there are no complications and that you are healing.