5 Dos (and 5 Don’ts) after Major Oral Surgery

Initial ConsultationAlthough oral surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, it’s still a major procedure that inflicts at least a small amount of trauma on the body. Many people underestimate their need for rest and recovery after a major oral surgery, and sometimes find themselves aggravating their injuries. If you’re scheduled for an oral surgical procedure, here are five dos and five don’ts to help you recover afterward.

5 Dos After Major Oral Surgery

  • DO give yourself a chance to rest. Take the whole day off after the procedure is finished, maybe even two to three days. Spend plenty of time relaxing and lounging if you like. Give yourself this time.
  • DO take any/all medications your doctor prescribes. You may be prescribed pain medication for the initial recovery period, as well as a round of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories (Advil/Motrin) to prevent infection. Take these as indicated.
  • DO apply ice packs to your jaw to reduce swelling. The general rule is 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, as needed for the first 2 to 3 days after your surgery.
  • DO stick to liquids for the first day. Once the bleeding stops, you can eventually move on to soft foods. Eat a nutrient-rich diet to accelerate healing.
  • DO keep your wound clean. A lukewarm saltwater rinse is best to protect against infections. Avoid rinsing for the first day; after that, rinse mornings, evenings and after every meal.

5 Don’ts After Major Oral Surgery

  • DON’T eat or drink hot liquids or foods, for at least 24 hours after surgery. If you have any lingering numbness from the anesthetic, you could sustain burns and not even know it or increase bleeding.
  • DON’T do any heavy lifting. Overexertion of any kind can aggravate your injury. Avoid bending over or picking up heavy items for the first few days.
  • DON’T smoke or drink alcohol. Tobacco smoke can aggravate your wound, and both tobacco and alcohol can inhibit your body’s recovery process. Abstain from drinking for at least 24 hours after surgery and while taking pain pills. Avoid smoking for as long as possible; in fact, now might be the perfect excuse to quit altogether.
  • DON’T brush or floss near the surgical site. It seems odd to say this, but in this instance brushing or flossing can aggravate your injury. Don’t brush or floss near your incision until your dentist says it’s okay; until then, clean the area gently with gauze.
  • DON’T chew crunchy foods near the surgical site for up to 6-8 weeks, or as directed by your dentist. Items like popcorn, peanuts, and carrots can aggravate your injury, and forceful chewing can open your wound.

At Riverside Oral & Facial Surgery, we’re committed to helping you achieve a quick and safe recovery after major oral surgery. To learn more, call us at 706-235-5570.