7 Tips for a Smooth Recovery After Dental Surgery

Oral surgery can be stressful, especially when it comes to the recovery process. It is important to follow your oral surgeon’s advice for a smooth recovery.

Rinse gently with warm salt water several times a day. Be sure to take antibiotics as prescribed. Avoid chewy or crunchy foods that can get wedged in the wound. Rest at home and keep your head elevated to reduce swelling.

1. Take Care of Your Wound

The wound from your oral surgery needs to heal properly. That means avoiding foods and activities that could disturb it. Your oral surgeon will provide you with specific post-surgery instructions. Make sure to follow those instructions exactly.

The best way to reduce swelling and ease pain after dental surgery is to apply an ice pack. The cold encourages essential blood clotting at the removal site. Make sure you place a cloth or paper between your skin and the ice pack to prevent damage.

It’s also a good idea to avoid hot or carbonated beverages and smoke, as these can disrupt the blood clot at the surgery site. Sleeping with pillows stacked up behind your head can help relieve the pressure on the wound and reduce pain.

For the first few days following oral surgery, stick to a soft food diet of yogurt, applesauce, and instant oatmeal. Avoid hard or chewy foods, which can irritate the wound and increase your risk of infection. And don’t forget to rinse with warm water after every meal and before bed. Your dentist might prescribe a narcotic pain medication or recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs to manage your pain. Be sure to take them as directed to get the most benefit from the medications.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is vital after oral surgery. It helps the body flush out toxins that would slow down recovery. It also stimulates the production of saliva, which clears away bacteria and food debris from the mouth to prevent infections. Staying hydrated also helps you feel more energized and ready to tackle the day. However, you should avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol as both can dehydrate the body.

Drinks such as water and diluted juice, yogurt, and strained soups are great options for staying hydrated after dental surgery. Be sure to choose sugar-free beverages, as they are gentle on the surgical site. It’s also important to eat soft foods that are easy to chew and don’t contain any chunks or solid ingredients.

Some bleeding is expected after tooth removal, but it’s crucial to stop the flow of blood as soon as possible. Biting down on a piece of folded gauze to assist with stopping the bleeding will protect the surgical site and help prevent a painful condition known as dry socket. Spitting, using a straw, and poking around the area can all dislodge or damage the blood clot that’s forming in the extraction site.

3. Eat Soft Foods

It’s important to eat soft foods after dental surgery. Hard to chew foods can impact the surgery site, dislodge blood clots, and delay healing. It’s also important to avoid crunchy or spicy food as these can irritate the wound.

The good news is there are plenty of healthy, delicious, and nutritious soft food choices. Applesauce is an excellent option as it’s packed with nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Another great choice is oats, which are easy to chew and provide fibre and antioxidants. They can be enjoyed boiled, steamed, or mashed.

Eggs are also a good source of protein, which is necessary for the body to heal. They can be boiled, scrambled, or made into an omelet for added flavour and texture.

If you want to add a bit of sweetness to your diet, try a spoonful of smooth nut butter, such as peanut butter or almond butter, which is high in proteins and healthy fats. You can also try ripe fruit like bananas or peaches, which are high in fibre and vitamin C. Just be sure to rinse your mouth after eating to remove any food particles that may be stuck in or around the surgical wound.

4. Avoid Smoking

A tooth extraction leaves a hole in the bone where your tooth used to be. Whether the tooth was pulled or surgically removed (or removed by oral surgery for an impacted tooth), you will bleed from this wound and, to help stop the bleeding, the dentist will put pressure on the area with gauze and then leave it to form a blood clot. The problem is that smoking will dislodge this clot and expose the bone in this sensitive area which can lead to a painful condition called dry socket.

To avoid this, you should avoid smoking for the recommended time after your procedure or whatever your dentist recommends for your healing process. Also, you should never smoke with the gauze still in place as this can cause serious problems with healing.

Other tips for a smooth recovery after dental surgery include not drinking hot beverages or eating hard, crunchy foods while the tooth extraction site heals. You should also rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water four times a day and after meals and before bed. And, of course, don’t forget to take over-the-counter pain medication if needed (but avoid aspirin!) and get plenty of rest.

5. Get Plenty of Rest

While dental surgery is less invasive than other procedures, it’s still important to take it easy and cancel any strenuous activities right after the procedure. Exertion can tear or damage a fresh surgical wound and lead to complications like dry socket, infection, or excessive bleeding.

A good night’s sleep can help keep swelling at a minimum. When you’re sleeping, your heart rate slows down and reduces pressure on blood vessels around the surgical site. This helps to decrease swelling and speed healing.

It’s also important to avoid drinking through straws for the first 48 hours after a tooth extraction. Sipping drinks through a straw creates suction in your mouth, which can dislodge blood clots in the empty tooth socket. This can lead to a painful condition known as dry socket that exposes the underlying nerves.

Ice packs are also a great way to reduce pain and swelling after oral surgery. However, make sure to wrap them in a towel to prevent skin burns. Use the ice pack on the side of your face where your tooth was removed for short intervals, as directed by your surgeon.

6. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

The most important thing you can do for a smooth recovery after oral surgery is to rest. This means getting adequate sleep and avoiding strenuous activities. This will help minimize pain, swelling, and bleeding and allow the body to heal faster.

It’s also important to take your pain medication as directed. If your doctor recommends ibuprofen or another over-the-counter pain reliever, don’t hesitate to do so. Taking the medication as soon as you feel pain will prevent it from getting worse.

During the first few days after oral surgery, you should stick to a liquid or soft food diet. Choose foods that don’t require a lot of chewing, such as soup, yogurt, smoothies, and mashed potatoes. Avoid crunchy or spicy foods and chewing gum, which can irritate the surgical site.

In addition to eating a soft food diet, you should rinse the mouth gently with warm salt water after every meal and snack. Do not brush or floss the surgical area, which could cause irritation and dislodge blood clots. If you experience pain, swelling, or bleeding that doesn’t improve after 24 hours, contact your oral surgeon. The sooner you report the issue, the more likely it is to be resolved quickly.

7. Schedule Follow-Up Appointments

A follow-up appointment with your oral surgeon is necessary to ensure that the surgical site is healing correctly. This is especially important for patients who get wisdom teeth removal, dental implants or other types of oral surgery that involve the mouth and jaw.

During your follow-up appointment, the dentist will examine your mouth and make sure that everything is progressing as it should. The dentist will also give you new instructions on how to care for your mouth and jaw while you heal.

For example, they may recommend that you rinse your mouth with salt water (by dissolving a teaspoon of table salt in eight ounces of warm water) every hour or so to help control pain and prevent infection. They may also tell you not to brush the area around the surgical site, but to keep brushing your other teeth normally.