The Essentials of Post-Dental Surgery Care: Do’s and Don’ts for a Swift Recovery

You have your outpatient oral surgery scheduled with your dentist in a week or so. Whether it’s to place the posts for dental implants or a more minor procedure, it is still surgery and you may not know what to expect. We will help you prepare for the procedure and post-op care, and answer all your questions to help make you feel more comfortable as the appointment approaches. 

Your biggest–and most important–role in the entire process will come with your post-dental surgery care.

This article will explain what to do after dental surgery so your recovery is safe and effective. Don’t hesitate to ask our team any questions you have now and at any time throughout the process. 

 

Proper Care After Dental Surgery: The Do’s and Don’ts

Recovery after dental surgery can best be outlined with some common sense rules. Here are the do’s and don’ts that will protect the surgery site and your overall oral health during your recovery:

 

What to Do After Dental Surgery: The Do’s

 

#1 – Get Printed Aftercare Instructions and Follow Them!

A dental team member will provide written instructions for your after-care routine. Use them! Post-surgical care instructions will include what and when to eat and drink, the level of activity you can safely do, and how to maintain your regular oral care while recovering. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us and ask. We want your post-op care to be comfortable and successful.

 

#2 – Rest After Your Oral Surgery

Plan on taking the day off to rest and recover. Your body, not just your mouth, needs time to rest and heal. When lying down, prop your head up with pillows so blood can flow away from the surgery site and swelling is reduced. This also decreases post-op bleeding from the surgery site.

 

#3 – Ice, Ice, Ice!

Ice your face frequently on the first day to reduce swelling. We recommend icing for 15 minutes and then remove the ice for at least 15 minutes. You can do this both as you sit and as you lie down since you will be resting all day!

#4 – Take Any Medications Prescribed By Your Dentist Or Oral Surgeon

We will prescribe post-op pain medication for pain and to prevent infection. Don’t wait until you experience pain; take your pain medication as soon as instructed even if you think you can “tough it out.” You will heal faster if you aren’t in pain and it’s simpler to prevent pain than it is to treat it. That means you shouldn’t skip doses, either. You may need to wake up in the middle of the night to take your pain medication.

 

#5 – Stay Hydrated

Your healing will be expedited if you stay hydrated. The standard at any time, but especially after surgery, is to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day.

 

#6 – Take Your Vitamins

Especially Vitamins A and C. The best way is to eat foods rich in these healing vitamins, or you may need supplements otherwise. These vitamins promote healing and fast recovery after your oral surgery.

 

#7 – Eat Soft, Cold Foods

Be careful with your mouth! Wait until your mouth has stopped bleeding to eat anything. After that, you will be instructed to eat only cold, soft foods and liquids for a few days.

So, before the day of your surgery, stock up on foods like soups, mashed potatoes, applesauce, bone broth, yogurts, and ingredients to make shakes. Having these on hand will discourage you from eating whatever is available that might not be suitable after surgery.

 

#8 – Maintain a Clean Mouth

You must indeed practice good oral hygiene to protect your mouth and gum health during your recovery and keep it clean, but your dentist will also tell you how to keep it clean without injuring the surgery site.  You can begin rinsing your mouth with warm salt water on day two. You can’t do this too often, so rinse at least four to five times a day. The salt will help with healing, too.

Also, since you won’t be brushing or flossing right away, always rinse after you eat to remove as much of the food left behind. 

 

What to Do After Dental Surgery: The Don’ts

Here are some things to avoid as you recuperate from your oral surgery:

 

#1 – Don’t Exert Yourself

Don’t disregard your dentist’s instructions about your level of activity after your procedure. Stay home and rest; it’s not the time for the gym, a run, or even a brisk walk. Avoid lifting anything for a few days. Wait until your dentist gives you the go-ahead to resume your regular activities.

 

#2 – Avoid Hot Foods or Drinks

If your mouth is still numb from the surgery, you won’t be able to eat or drink anything hot. You can burn your mouth without realizing it. You don’t need additional damage to your mouth or tongue from burns!

 

#3 – Don’t Eat Hard or Crunchy Foods

Also avoid foods that are hard or crunchy, like popcorn, raw veggies, candy, and raw fruits. It may feel like your mouth is healed, but avoid these items for eight weeks. Then check with your dentist before resuming your regular diet.

 

#4 – Avoid Spicy And Acidic Foods

Citrus foods and drinks as well as spicy and acidic drinks will irritate your gums. Don’t extend your recovery time by consuming these items.  

 

#5 – Don’t Smoke and Don’t Drink Alcohol

This isn’t the time to smoke or drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol can lead to increased swelling and risk of infection. Wait until after your mouth has healed before drinking any alcohol. Avoid smoking for 24 hours after your oral surgery. (In fact, this would be a great time to quit smoking completely!)

 

#6 – Don’t Brush or Floss in the Area of the Surgery

Normal brushing and flossing may be too much for the mouth to handle. For the first 24 hours after surgery, don’t brush or floss in the surgical area at all.

 

#7 – Keep Foreign Objects Out of Your Mouth

Pencils, pens, or fingers can quickly damage your mouth. After surgery, don’t use a straw for the first few days because you take a chance of dislodging necessary blood clots. This will increase healing time.

Let Us Help With Your Recovery After Dental Surgery

Oral surgery is commonplace today, but it can be concerning if it’s your first experience with these procedures. The do’s and don’ts in this article provide specific actions to take and those to avoid so your mouth has time to heal. 

Wilmington Dental Associates is here to provide exceptional post-dental surgery care and answer any questions you have so you can focus on healing and enjoying the results of your dental surgery. Contact us today with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment. We are here to help!

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