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6 Tips to Recover From Oral Surgery

Mar 13, 2023
Whether you’ve undergone oral surgery to extract a tooth or treat gum disease, you may experience swelling, discomfort, and pain afterward. Follow these tips to speed your recovery and stay comfy while you do so.

Nobody ever wants to have a tooth extracted, but today’s sedation dentistry keeps you calm and comfortable throughout the procedure. Whether you need oral surgery for decayed or impacted teeth, gum disease, jaw atrophy, or other reasons, you need to allow yourself sufficient recovery time.

Although your oral and overall health benefit from extractions, implants, and periodontal treatments, they’re surgical procedures, so afterward you may be sore, swollen, and fatigued.

At AB Dental and Oral Surgery in San Antonio, Texas, our expert team, led by Anthony D. Osei, DDS, PhD, may recommend oral surgery to keep your teeth, gums, and entire body healthy. We provide sedation dentistry, where appropriate, to keep you relaxed and pain-free during your procedure.

After oral surgery, though, you must follow our aftercare instructions to avoid infection, irritation, or a long healing time. Following are six tips to help make your oral surgery recovery fast and comfortable.

1. Sit back and relax

First, be sure to give yourself adequate time to rest and relax. Don’t try to stick to your normal routine. Watch TV, play a non-stressful video game, or read a book. Let your body do the work of healing and recovering while you take it easy.

Even after you decide you’re feeling well enough to engage in one or two normal activities, if you feel tired or woozy, take a break. Also be sure to get enough sleep. Sleep helps you heal and recover.

2. Hit the ice

Don’t grab your hockey stick and puck; you’re not ready for sports yet. Instead, wrap ice or an icepack in a washcloth or gauze and apply it to swollen areas on your face.

Only hold the wrapped ice or icepack to your face for 10-20 minutes at a time. You don’t want to damage your skin. Apply the ice up to three times a day.

3. Bite the bullet (well, gauze)

To stop any blood seepage, simply bite down with gentle pressure on a wad of folded gauze, cotton, or even a washcloth. If bleeding continues after 24 hours, or if it’s so heavy that you must change the cloth several times, call us right away. 

4. Protect your clot

When your gums start to heal and the blood coagulates, it forms a clot over your incision. You must take care to guard the clot so that it doesn’t fall off and start the wound bleeding again. To protect the clot, for the first three days: 

  • Don’t sip through a straw
  • Don’t suck anything
  • Don't spit, if you can help it
  • Don’t drink alcohol or carbonated beverages
  • Don’t smoke 

Avoid hot, hard, spicy, or chewy foods. Opt for soft, cooling choices such as yogurt, oatmeal, or applesauce.

5. Don’t put up with pain

Over-the-counter pain medications may be enough to control your pain after your oral surgery. However, we can also prescribe a painkiller to keep you comfortable for the first two days after surgery. Let us know if pain persists for more than 48 hours. 

6. Check in with us

Be sure to alert us of any signs or symptoms of infection, such as:

  • Fever
  • Swelling that lasts for more than two days
  • Pus
  • Continued bleeding
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing

Also, keep all of your postoperative appointments to be sure you’re healing well and on schedule.

If you need oral surgery, contact our team by phone or use our online form. We keep you comfortable with sedation dentistry and give you explicit aftercare instructions to ease your recovery.