Oral surgery, regardless of the complexity of your procedure, involves a recovery period. The exact amount of time you need to recover fully will depend heavily on your specific procedure. No matter if your procedure was simple or complex, it is important that you rest and take care of yourself. At Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implants Center, we provide you with specific aftercare instructions when your procedure is complete. These instructions are designed to facilitate a successful recovery for your general tooth extraction. Here is a bit of what you can expect.
Rest Is Important
Rest is key in recovering from oral surgery. Your body needs time to repair itself, and doing too much can impede this natural process. Avoid lifting heavy objects, bending over, or any other strenuous activities. If something does not feel right, avoid doing it. Instead, you should stay seated, or lying down with your head elevated, as often as possible. Doing too much too soon can increase your pain, swelling, and cause bleeding. In the days and weeks following surgery, you can slowly begin to resume normal activities as you feel ready.
Alleviating Pain and Swelling
Pain and swelling are both common occurrences following oral surgery. Pain can typically be managed with non-aspirin over the counter pain relievers. If OTC medications are not effective, we can provide you with a prescription for something stronger. It is important that you take all medications as directed.
In the first 24 hours after surgery, ice can be used to alleviate pain and limit your swelling. Wrap ice in a towel and hold it against the area near the surgical site for 20 minutes. Leave it off for another 20 minutes and repeat as necessary. After 48 hours, ice is no longer effective for swelling. Instead, switch to moist heat. Heat will help swelling to dissipate faster. Hold heat near the surgical site for 15 minutes and leave it off for another 15. This can be repeated as often as you feel necessary.
What to Do About Bleeding
Bleeding is also common after surgery, and most is minor. Most bleeding is a small amount of blood mixed with saliva. At the end of your procedure, we place gauze on the surgical wounds to help stop bleeding and aid in clotting. You can replace gauze as you feel necessary, holding it in place with gentle pressure. Damp tea bags can also be placed at the surgical sites as well for 20 to 30 minutes. Most bleeding will subside in just a couple of days.
What to Eat
A nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential for proper healing. However, you will need to be careful of what you eat, especially in the first few days following surgery. Avoid hard, crunchy, chewy and sticky foods. You should also avoid anything spicy, acidic or salty. Stick to soft, even liquid, foods, particularly in the beginning. Do not skip meals. As you heal, you will begin to resume your normal diet.
Maintaining Your Oral Health
Taking care of your mouth is always important, but it is even more so when healing from oral surgery. During the first 24 hours after surgery, do not swish or spit anything. This can dislodge clots. After 24 hours, a salt water rinse can be used to help eliminate bacteria. It is important to continue to brush and floss your teeth, but exercise caution around the surgical sites.
If you smoke or use any other tobacco products, you will be recommended to quit before your surgery. If you cannot quit, you will at least need to abstain from tobacco products, both just before your surgery as well as throughout your recovery. Tobacco products can slow your healing, which can increase your risk for infections and other issues.
When You Should Call the Office
Your post-op instructions are designed to help ensure a smooth recovery. However, sometimes, issues still happen. It is important that you call the office immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Heavy bleeding, or bleeding that will not stop.
- Extreme pain.
- Excessive swelling.
- A fever.
Following your aftercare instructions will help to ensure a smooth recovery process and successful healing. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery period, do not hesitate to call Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implants Center today at (702)270-2999.