For many dental patients, dental surgery is often a common step in terms of treatment. A lot of corrective and cosmetic procedures require some form of surgery, often taking place in the dental surgery itself.
There are many different types of dental surgery, but often the most common type is tooth extraction or dental implant treatment. It’s important to remember that although dental surgery doesn’t require an overnight stay or extended post-surgery recovery, this doesn’t mean that recovery isn’t as important.
Following dental surgery, your dentist will likely give you some advice on how best to manage any pain or discomfort and what the next steps in your treatment plan will be. But, there are so many different tips that can help aid recovery following dental surgery.
Take It Easy & Rest
After your dental surgery, it’s important that you take care of your mouth and get plenty of rest in order to aid your recovery. Even if your dentist has said that your downtime will be minimal, you should look to spend the rest of the day following your dental surgery resting.
As with any other type of surgery, you’ll likely be given some form of sedative, which is usually either general or local anaesthetic for dental surgery. Following this, you’ll likely feel quite drowsy, so avoid driving or doing anything which requires concentration or strenuous activity. Now is your chance to put your feet up and enjoy some quiet time whilst healing.
Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions
Following your surgery, your dentist might tell you not to brush your teeth for a day or two, as your mouth might be too sensitive for your regular oral hygiene routine. Whilst you might not be able to brush your teeth as normal, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your mouth remains clean whilst healing, which can promote proper healing.
You might be advised not to rinse your mouth for 24 hours following your surgery, but after this, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water or mouthwash. You should attempt to keep the surgery site as clean as possible in order to prevent infection.
Usually, following dental surgery, your face can become bruised and swollen. This is completely normal and is just your body’s reaction to the surgery. In order to ease the pain and swelling, applying a covered ice pack to the affected areas can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
After the first 24 hours following your surgery, use some ice wrapped in a tea towel and gently hold onto your jaw for around 30 minutes at a time. After around 15-30 minutes, you can then reapply the ice again. If you have had surgery on both sides of your mouth, then alternate from side to side. After around 2-3 days, the swelling should reduce, but you might be left with some lingering bruising, depending on the type of dental surgery you have had.
Watch What You Are Eating and Drinking
In the first few hours following your surgery, you’re very unlikely to want to eat or drink much, other than water. In the first 24 hours, you should avoid eating or drinking anything that is too hot, as this can cause significant discomfort and may hinder the healing process, as the sudden change in temperature can cause bleeding from the surgery site. You should also avoid smoking for around 24 hours following your surgery, as this can irritate the surgery site.
It’s best to stick to cool, soft foods for the first few days after your surgery, so choose things such as porridge, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, yoghurt and soup, as well as plenty of water. Avoid foods that are too hot, cold, tough, spicy or particularly chewy.
Avoid Disturbing The Surgery Site
Following your dental surgery, you want to avoid disturbing the blood clot that forms at the surgery site. Although this sounds scary, it’s a completely normal part of the healing process for dental surgeries such as tooth removal. The blood clot forms in the space where the tooth was removed and is very delicate. It’s recommended that you avoid using a straw and drink alcoholic and fizzy beverages for at least 3 days following your dental surgery procedure.
Following tooth removal surgery, dry socket is a potential complication that can occur where a blood clot either fails to form, or becomes dislodged. This usually happens between 3 and 5 days after surgery. The empty socket can cause a throbbing ache in your jawline that can feel almost like a toothache. With dry socket, the surgery site can cause an unpleasant smell or taste in the mouth and, in some cases, you may be able to see exposed bone. If you think you have dry socket, then arrange a visit with your dentist or surgeon who will be able to clean out the area and cover it with a medicated dressing.
Dental surgery that is required for treatments such as all on 4 dental implants often has much less risk associated with it. The surgery for these treatments is often contained to a small area and the recovery period is often much shorter.
Monitor Your Recovery
Every patient is different, so it’s advisable that you continue to monitor your healing progress. If you notice anything unusual following your dental surgery, then consult with your dentist straight away. Things such as manageable pain, bruising, swelling and discomfort is to be expected, but anything that is particularly painful should be investigated further.
If the surgery site starts to feel hot, or you develop a fever, then this could be a sign of infection and you might require antibiotics. Due to the nature of the mouth and dental surgery, infections following surgery aren’t uncommon, but they should still be checked over.
Be sure to attend any and all check-up and follow up appointments as arranged by your dentist, as they will check the surgery site to ensure that your mouth is healing as it should. You should always follow your dentist’s instructions and recommendations to avoid any complications.