With great advances in dentistry, many oral surgery procedures, like dental implants and extractions tend to be fairly simple and painless. But after the surgery, the site of operation usually feels tender for a few days, which can be easily addressed with over-the-counter pain relief medications. However, avoid taking aspirin immediately after the surgery because it thins blood and can cause your mouth to bleed.
Here are some other steps to help boost your recovery after oral surgery.
• Follow dentist/surgeon recommendations strictly – If you have been prescribed a specific painkiller or other medication to take after the procedure, take it at the recommended times and intervals. This is necessary to manage pain and prevent infections.
• Get enough rest – Rest promotes speedy recovery. It is recommended that you don’t do anything for the rest of the day after a procedure. Depending on the type of surgery, you can resume light tasks the following day.
• Swelling is normal after oral surgery. It can increase for 2 to 3 days, but then it starts going down. To reduce the swelling, avoid any movement for 8-12 hours after the surgery.
• To help lessen swelling, you can start applying cold packs or ice to the side of your face, over the surgery site, holding the pack for 15 minutes and removing it for another 15 minutes. You can do this as often as you like for the rest of the day after surgery. After that, it won’t be as effective.
• Some bleeding or oozing can be expected for the first 12 – 24 hours after surgery. You should bite on the sponge given to you after surgery for at least one hour. If you’re bleeding a lot, place clean, damp gauze over the bleeding area and press it firmly for 20 minutes so no blood escapes. Repeat if necessary.
• For the first 2 days after surgery, only consume liquids and soft foods. Things like yogurt, eggs, cheese, cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, smooth soups, pudding, protein shakes, fried beans, and fruit smoothies are okay.
• Continue with soft foods that don’t require much chewing for the rest of the week – rice, macaroni, noodles, etc. and avoid hot, spicy, hard, crunchy, or acidic foods.
• Do not brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for 24 hours after the procedure. After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals. Brush your teeth carefully as instructed by your surgeon/dentist.
• Do not use straws for 48 hours
• Do not blow your nose. Wipe it instead, and sneeze with your mouth open for at least 48 hours
• Do not drink or smoke for 48 hours
If you notice anything unusual about your recovery, like excess swelling, pain, or bleeding, contact your dentist or surgeon immediately.