Oral surgery can be a daunting experience, but the good news is that the recovery process doesn’t have to be. Whether you’ve just had a wisdom tooth extraction or dental implants, following a few simple tips can help you bounce back in no time.
In this blog post, we’ll explore practical advice and helpful tips for a speedy recovery, covering everything from pain management to dietary tips, cleaning instructions, and potential complications to watch out for.
Managing Pain and Discomfort
Pain management is crucial in ensuring a comfortable recovery process. Here are some tips to help you handle post-surgery discomfort:
- Follow your surgeon’s advice: Your surgeon will likely prescribe specific pain medications. Be sure to follow their instructions and dosages to manage your pain effectively.
- Use ice packs or cold compresses: Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. Typically, you should apply cold therapy for 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off, for the first 24-48 hours after surgery.
- Elevate your head: Keep your head elevated to help minimize swelling and alleviate pain around the surgery site, particularly during sleep. Use an extra pillow or two to prop your head up or sleep in a recliner.
For post-operative instructions, see our post-operative instructions page.
Dealing With Swelling
Swelling is a common post-surgery symptom. Here are some ways to keep it under control:
- Follow the ice pack routine: As mentioned earlier, ice packs can help minimize swelling. Be sure to adhere to the recommended 20-minute intervals.
- Try warm compresses after 48 hours: After two days, you can switch to using warm (not hot) compresses, as they can help promote circulation and reduce swelling further.
After oral surgery, what you eat (and don’t eat) is vital in promoting healing.
- Stick to soft foods: In the first few days after surgery, focus on eating soft, easy-to-chew foods. Examples include yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and smoothies.
- Avoid hard, crunchy, and spicy foods: Foods like nuts, popcorn, and chips can irritate or damage the surgical site, while spicy foods may cause discomfort. Steer clear of these items for the first week.
- Stay well-hydrated: Drink plenty of water and sports drinks with electrolytes. Avoid carbonated or caffeinated beverages for the first 72 hours, which can slow healing. Also, refrain from using straws for 48 hours, as the suction can dislodge blood clots and lead to a painful condition called dry socket.
- Gradually reintroduce firmer foods: As your healing progresses, you can slowly resume your regular diet, but listen to your body and be cautious when reintroducing harder foods.
- Eat foods that promote healing: Add green leafy vegetables to smoothies along with seedless berries, which are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Blended soups and broths are great for promoting healing. Eat soft foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Protein is essential for wound healing and will help your body repair itself.
Cleaning and Hygiene
Proper oral hygiene is essential during recovery. Here’s what you need to know:
- Rinse gently: Use a saltwater rinse (½ teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. cup of water) or prescribed mouthwash several times a day. However, avoid vigorously swishing or spitting, as it can displace blood clots and hinder healing.
- Brush carefully: Continue to brush your teeth, but be gentle around the surgery site to avoid causing irritation or infection.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking during recovery can slow the healing process and increase your risk of complications.
Watch for Complications
While complications are rare, you should be aware of potential signs, such as:
- Persistent pain and swelling: Postoperative pain and swelling is expected for 5 to 7 days. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help alleviate the pain. If you are unable to manage the pain, please contact your surgeon for advice.
- Fever: It is not unusual after oral surgery to have a mild elevation of temperature for the first 48 hours. However, if you experience a fever of 101°F or more, it could indicate an infection. Please contact your surgeon if you have a persistent fever or elevated temperature.
- Excessive bleeding: It is not unusual to have oozing of blood from the extraction sites for 24- 48 hours. If the bleeding doesn’t subside within 48 hours or you have bleeding that you are having difficulty managing with placing gauze pressure, then contact your surgeon.
Following these post-operative instructions can help ensure a speedy recovery and reduce your risk for complications. Remember to stay in close contact with your surgeon and follow their instructions for the best outcome.
Experience the AZ Max Difference
At AZ Max Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, we are proud to offer the latest treatments in a relaxed and caring environment. Our highly trained specialists use the latest technologies to ensure your procedure is safe and effective. We strive to provide our patients with the highest level of care possible and will do all we can to help you have a comfortable and successful recovery.
If you are searching for an oral surgeon near me, contact the experts at AZ Max Oral Surgery. We have four locations in the Phoenix Southeast Valley and one in Show Low. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced surgeons, or to enquire about the services we offer, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form.
We look forward to meeting you!
Frequently Asked Questions
The amount of time it takes to heal from oral surgery depends on the type of procedure and your individual healing process, but most patients can usually return to work within a few days of their procedure.
It’s important to avoid any strenuous activity or exercise, smoking, and using straws while recovering from oral surgery.
Yes, it’s important to stay well-hydrated after oral surgery to promote healing and reduce the risk of infection. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid carbonated or caffeinated beverages for the first 72 hours, which can slow the healing process.