10 Essential Tips for a Successful Oral Surgery Recovery

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“Oral surgery” may seem like a dramatic term for dental procedures such as implants, root canals, and extractions—but that’s exactly what they are:  surgeries.

That means that post-op care, or aftercare, should be taken seriously.  In fact, any surgery is only as successful as the treatment that immediately follows it.

Your dental team will give you specific instructions—what to do, what not to do—for the first few days after your procedure.  These directions should be followed to the letter, and you should let your provider know if you encounter an unexpected problem.  In the meantime, here are some commonsense guidelines that’ll make your recovery faster, easier, and more comfortable.

  1. Go easy on your mouth. As with any surgery, too much activity in the affected area can cause problems like torn stitches or bleeding, which can actually undermine the purpose of the surgery. The surgery site needs to heal itself and it can’t do that unless you treat it with care.
  2.  Eat the right foods. Be prepared to change your diet for a few days, choosing softer foods such as milkshakes, yogurt, Jello, mashed potatoes, pudding, and brothy soups. Avoid anything that is hard, crunchy, spicy, or that requires a lot of chewing.  Be careful of subtle troublemakers like nuts or sprinkles hiding in ice cream.
  3. Use ice packs to reduce swelling. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to inquiry, and it’s normal after any kind of surgery. Ice helps reduce swelling and will also ease any discomfort you might have.  Heat, while it might feel good at the time, shouldn’t be applied, as it can increase inflammation.
  4. Take pain medications as directed by your surgeon. Typically, over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen will take care of pain; in some cases, prescription painkillers may be prescribed for you. You’ll probably only need these for a day or two after your procedure until the inflammation goes down.
  5. Modify your usual oral hygiene routine for a few days. Usually, a dentist would never tell you not to brush or floss, but they will tell you to stop right after surgery, as it can tear at the incision site, cause bleeding, and delay healing. Instead, you may be instructed to gently rinse with a solution of warm water and salt.
  6. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol for the duration of your recovery. Tobacco can irritate compromised tissue and alcohol can interact—dangerously—with pain medications. While we’re at it, you shouldn’t chew gum, suck on candy, or use straws, as these things create negative pressure on your tender mouth tissue.
  7. Take vitamin supplements that reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair. In particular, Vitamins B12, C, D, and zinc are known to aid in the healing process. They may be particularly important since you will be changing your normal nutritional intake while your mouth heals.  Be sure to consult with your health care team before taking any supplements.
  8. Get plenty of rest. Sure, you may feel like returning to life as usual, but your body needs some downtime to recover from the shock of surgery.  Observe your regular sleeping routines, keep stress to a minimum, and don’t be afraid to snooze in your easy chair if the spirit (or your medication!) so moves you!
  9. Use sterile gauze, if necessary, to gently absorb any bleeding that may occur. It’s perfectly natural to see a little blood after surgery—so don’t panic—just pat the affected area softly with a gauze pad to soak up any blood. You can dampen the pad with a little hydrogen peroxide for added protection against infection.  If the bleeding doesn’t stop, contact a help professional ASAP.
  10. Avoid blowing your nose. Any abrupt, jerking head motion can irritate the surgical site and cause bleeding and pain.  Even sneezing can jar open a wound, but since you can’t keep from sneezing, do it with your mouth open.  If your nose absolutely needs cleaning, consider using a gentle nasal flush with a saline solution.

This all may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but your doctor will give you a written list to help you remember.  A great surgeon and a great follow-up will help give you the results you desire!

Is Oral Surgery in Your Future?

Chances are, at some point in your life, you may need some dental work, whether it be an dental implants in Mexico, root canal, all on 4 Mexico, dental crowns in Tijuana, braces in Mexico, dental bone graft Mexico or even a deep cleaning and whitening treatment.   The Dental District,  dental clinic in Tijuana, can do it all. Conveniently located just minutes from Southern California in Tijuana, we have a top-notch medical staff and a state-of-the-art facility to accommodate your every orthodontic need, all at a cost much less than what you’d pay in the U.S.   Contact us for a free initial consultation today!

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