3 Tips For Recovering From Oral Surgery

Whether you’ve just had dental implants inserted, or had to undergo an extraction for impacted wisdom teeth, healing from oral surgery requires time and care. While today’s sedation dentistry makes oral surgery virtually pain-free, you won’t be able to jump right back into your daily activities.

Dr. Carl F. Lipe and the expert dental team at Denver Dental Implants in Denver, Colorado, share the following three tips to make your oral-surgery recovery event-free and fruitful.

Get comfy

While oral surgery can hardly qualify as a vacation, giving yourself permission to relax during recovery is an essential part of your healing. Take time off from work and other responsibilities for the first 24 to 48 hours, and avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.

You should also avoid driving or any other potentially dangerous activity after your procedure, because you’ll still be drowsy from your sedative.

When napping or sleeping, put extra pillows under your head. The aim is to keep your head elevated to avoid swelling and discomfort.

Dr. Lipe may prescribe painkillers, which you take as directed. In many cases, however, over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen is enough to keep you comfortable. Don’t use aspirin; it’s a blood thinner that could increase bleeding and bruising.

You can also control any pain, discomfort, or swelling by gently applying ice packs to your jaw or cheek. Be sure to wrap the ice in a wash cloth so it doesn’t damage your skin. Apply for no more than 15 minutes at a time to a single area.

Eat and drink with care

While you may be hungry enough for steak, now’s not the time to chew! Soft, room-temperature foods are best after surgery. You don’t want to eat anything chewy or hard until your gums have healed.

Also avoid spicy foods, hot foods, and hot or cold beverages. Some safe choices after your surgery include:

You should also avoid fruits with a high acid content, such as citrus fruits. When choosing a beverage, opt for room-temperature water or herbal tea. Avoid carbonated beverages, coffee, and alcohol.

Protect the clot

Directly after your surgery, our dentists advise biting down on a damp piece of gauze to control any bleeding. Over the next hours to days, as your gums heal, you’ll notice a clot forming on the operation site. It’s very important to allow the clot to fully form and not disturb it.

You should avoid rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery. After that, Dr. Lipe may recommend saltwater rinses every few hours for up to a week, especially after meals. Spit water gently to avoid disturbing the clot. If Dr. Lipe allows tooth brushing, do so gently and don’t brush the clot itself.

Following a soft-foods diet helps your clot form. Don’t sip through a straw or smoke until you’re fully healed; both actions can dislodge the clot.

Call us if you experience any unexpected pain or symptoms, notice pus in your wound, or develop a fever.  Be sure to come for your follow-up appointment, so Dr. Lipe can verify that you’re healing well. If you have any questions, alway feel free to reach out by phone or online form.

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