Just like any other type of surgery, what the patient does in the hours and days following the procedure can make a big difference in their comfort and recovery. That’s why proper after-care for oral surgery is absolutely essential.
Certain symptoms are fairly common after oral surgery and are not necessarily cause for alarm. They include swelling, mild bleeding and mild to moderate pain.
What to Do
- Bleeding is common following oral surgery. You should reduce your activity level to help keep the bleeding to a minimum. You can also apply pressure to the area for 10 minutes with sterile gauze. If it does not stop on the first try, keep applying pressure for another 10-15 minutes.
- To reduce swelling and the pain that accompanies it, hold an ice pack on your face for 20 minutes, then remove it for 10 minutes. Repeat this procedure during your waking hours for the first day. Then discontinue icing. If you have had a gingival graft procedure, DO NOT use ice.
- You can take 600mg of Ibuprofen every 4 hours for the first week after surgery. Make sure to take it with food, which should help avoid indigestion.
Eating and Drinking After Oral Surgery
Eat a soft diet for the first week after surgery, or longer if needed. Avoid crunchy foods, hot or spicy food, and popcorn. DO NOT drink with a straw or smoke during the first 48 hours after surgery.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
- Continue to brush your teeth as you normally would, but be extra-careful in the area where you had surgery.
- Take any pain medication or antibiotics prescribed by your doctor exactly as prescribed.
- Give your body time to rest. Avoid doing any strenuous activity or exercise.
- Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco. Both will delay healing.
You may need a follow-up appointment after your surgery to have stitches or dressings removed and to ensure that your healing process is progressing as it should. Your dentist will let you know if this is necessary.
With a little extra care following your procedure, you can make your recovery a much more comfortable experience.