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Oral Surgery Series: Tips for Recovering from Oral Surgery

Whether you have an impacted tooth that’s trapped in your jawbone or a poorly positioned one that’s damaging nearby teeth, there are plenty of reasons someone might need oral surgery. But the operating room at your local dentist office isn’t the last stop on your road to recovery. After you’ve had oral surgery, you’ll need to take the proper steps to ensure your mouth fully heals.

What You Should Do When Recovering From Oral Surgery

Rest assured that it’s perfectly normal for the area in your mouth that was operated on to feel sore and tender for the week following surgery. While over-the counter pain relievers are usually enough to ease the discomfort you might feel, make sure you avoid aspirin because it can make your mouth bleed by thinning the blood. Here’s what else you should do during your recovery.

  • Limit swelling and bleeding by propping your head up with pillows
  • Apply ice packs to the affected area in 15-minute increments to reduce swelling
  • Eat soft foods once the bleeding has subsided - soups, milkshakes, yogurt, etc.
  • Take any antibiotics your dentist might have prescribed as directed
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water daily after the initial 24 hours of recovery
  • Eat foods that are rich in vitamin A and C, as this helps with the healing process

What You Shouldn’t Do When Recovering From Oral Surgery

Much like doing the right things will help with the healing process and even speed it up, doing the wrongs things can lead to excessive bleeding and swelling as well as immense pain. To ensure your mouth doesn’t cause you serious distress following surgery, avoid making these mistakes.

  • Avoid heavy lifting, bending and any strenuous exercises for 72 hours
  • Avoid hot foods and drinks until the numbness goes away
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods for six to eight weeks (apples, carrots, etc.)
  • Avoid brushing or flossing the surgically operated on teeth until your dentist allows it
  • Avoid smoking for as long as you can - at least for the rest of the day following surgery
  • Avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours