When you have an oral surgery, recovery is half the battle! You want to make sure you take great care of yourself and your surgical site during this process to ensure a healthy recovery. Here are a few things you can do to help facilitate the healing process.
1. Keep your mouth clean.
Maintaining a solid dental hygiene routine throughout the recovery process can help you to avoid infection. In most cases, it is okay to use a soft-bristled toothbrush after your operation (while avoiding the surgical site), but be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully. You can also use a lukewarm saltwater mixture to gently rinse your mouth and keep the site clean.
2. Eat soft foods.
Crunchy or chewy foods can damage your surgical site and interrupt your healing process. Therefore, you’ll want to stick to foods like yogurt or soup for now. That said, avoid any hot or spicy foods, as these can also cause irritation.
3. Do not drink alcohol or smoke.
Both alcohol and tobacco products can make you more susceptible to infection and, therefore, can interrupt the recovery process. You’ll want to avoid any of these harmful substances for at least a week after oral surgery.
4. Use a cold compress.
To help minimize your swelling and alleviate discomfort, we recommend applying a cold compress for the first 1-2 days of your healing process. Simply place an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the cheek on the side of your surgical site.
5. Drink plenty of water.
It is so critical that you stay hydrated throughout the healing process. However, you need to make sure you avoid using a straw, as this can cause a painful condition called dry socket. Make sure you stick to plain water for the first 24 hours of your recovery, and avoid any carbonated, caffeinated, or hot beverages at this time.
6. Follow your dentist’s instructions closely.
It is particularly important that you follow your surgeon’s instructions when it comes to medication that you could be prescribed after your surgery, such as antibiotics. In most cases, you’ll be able to manage pain with over-the-counter pain medication. Though, if you are prescribed a stronger painkiller, be sure to follow instructions carefully as well.
Rest is so important for any healing process. Therefore, make sure you avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for the first week after your surgery. It is particularly critical that you rest during your first 24 hours of recovery as your anesthetics wear off.
8. Protect the surgical site.
Make sure you’re not doing anything that could harm the surgical site. This includes eating, talking, and even spitting during your first few hours of recovery. You should also avoid using a straw or even playing wind instruments during this time. Otherwise, you could risk damage to the site.
At College Drive Dental Associates, we want to make sure your oral surgery goes smoothly. If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to ask! Call our Palos Heights office today.