The word “surgery” often brings to mind a stay in the hospital, general anesthesia, and perhaps a lengthy recovery period. However, the experience of having oral surgery is usually very different from that. Some common oral surgery procedures include: tooth extractions, dental implant placement, and biopsies of suspicious oral lesions.
The days and weeks following an oral surgery are an integral part of the recovery process. It is important to follow all of the surgeon’s instructions for care to promote healing and reduce the risk of post-surgical difficulties. Most patients experience a complication-free recovery and can return to work or school within one to two days following surgery.
Did you know…
that discomfort following oral surgery is usually minimal? Though you may be given a prescription-strength pain reliever for the first day or two after surgery, most patients find that an over-the-counter ibuprofen is enough to relieve post-operative discomfort after the initial recovery period. Pain typically becomes less and less by the day, completely subsiding within one to two weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I care for the surgical site on the day of my oral surgery?
A responsible driver will need to accompany you to your surgical appointment and drive you home after surgery. It is normal for the surgical site to bleed and swell during the first few hours after surgery. You may be instructed to bite down on gauze packs, changing them as needed. Get plenty of rest, do not drive, and be careful not to disturb the surgical area on the day of surgery. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for pain relief, and apply an ice pack to the cheek to reduce swelling. If possible, limit your foods to liquids and soft foods that require minimal chewing.
What should I expect on days two and three?
You can begin gently brushing your teeth on the day after surgery so long as you avoid the surgical area. You may gradually begin to incorporate solid foods into your diet, rinsing food from the mouth with an irrigating syringe after eating as instructed by your surgeon. Apply hot and cold compresses to the cheeks intermittently to reduce swelling, and continue to take pain medication only as needed.
Is there anything else I should know about the post-operative period?
After your oral surgery, we ask that you do not smoke for at least 48 hours. Doing so could cause clots to dislodge, resulting in a painful condition known as ‘dry socket’. You should also avoid using a straw. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns you may have about your personal healing process.