When one thinks of oral surgery, they probably don’t consider that many very common dental procedures have a surgical element to them. For example, one can’t have an implant without extracting the damaged tooth and inserting a metal post into the jawbone. Wisdom teeth require surgery to remove them, as does any other tooth that requires extraction or root canal therapy. If you require oral surgery, you may know what to expect when you are in the chair. But what happens during recovery? With such a broad range of procedures, expect a variety of instructions for post-operative care, however, here are some tips that can provide comfort and ensure a successful recovery after most oral surgery procedures.
After your procedure, try to take it easy, especially if you have undergone sedation. Don’t drive a car or perform any activities that require dexterity or concentration. Avoid strenuous activities, and when you do rest, be sure to elevate your head to allow proper clotting.
Post-op, you likely will experience swelling and pain once the sedative wears off. Applying ice packs can reduce the inflammation and provide cooling relief. Do not apply ice directly to the skin or on the wound, rather to one side of the face, then the other, switching every 15 minutes.
Mind the Clot
Blood clots are your body’s way of healing its wounds, so leave them be. Avoid any foods or drinks that could irritate the clot – especially carbonated and alcoholic drinks. Avoid tobacco altogether (this may also be a great time to quit!).
Stick to Soft Foods
Your jaw may be too sore to eat what you wish, but also, eating certain foods that are chewy, tough, too cold or too hot can affect healing. Avoid spicy foods, too, opting for soft, bland foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding, warm broths and applesauce.
Medication, as Prescribed
Many people expect to get strong pain medication after their dental procedure; however, over-the-counter pain medications are often effective enough to relieve the inflammation that causes post-operative pain. If your oral surgeon does prescribe pain medication, take it exactly as directed and notify him immediately if you should experience any side effects. Your doctor will also likely prescribe antibiotics; take them as prescribed and finish the course of treatment to ensure you are not at risk at developing a potentially life-threatening infection.
Be Patient, but Vigilant
It takes time to heal after oral surgery, so be patient. However, keep an eye out for infection, if sutures rupture or if something dislodges, or if you notice pus or discharge. A fever and/or chills can be also be a sign of infection; contact your oral surgeon right away.
After your procedure, your oral surgeon will provide you a list of instructions that contains do’s and don’ts, including what to do in case of emergency. Before leaving the office, you will review these instructions with your surgeon – ask your questions then and have your driver listen in on the conversation so you don’t miss anything. In the next few days you should be healing fine, but be sure not to miss any follow-on appointments.
Full-Service Dental Care for Twin Cities Families
When it comes to top-notch full-service dental care, there is only one choice in the Twin Cities. Hagerman Dental Care offers complete general, cosmetic and restorative dental care for patients of all ages. No insurance? No problem. Hagerman Dental Care offers an annual, reduced-fee savings plan for families and individuals without dental insurance. Smile with confidence. Call Dr. Steven Hagerman at our conveniently located office to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area today at (651) 646-2392, or use our online appointment request form.