Post Oral Surgery Care TipsBy
If you have undergone an oral surgery procedure for the removal of a decayed tooth, or due to the extraction of wisdom teeth, proper post-surgery care is important to the successful healing of the surgical site and the prevention of infection or other complications. By following a few simple and basic tips, you can better ensure that you will quickly be on the road to recovery and that your surgical site will heal quickly and with few or no issues.
Of course, if you have undergone any type of oral surgery procedure, the most important steps for you to take following the procedure are those that have been explained to you by your oral surgeon. Each type of procedure may have different post-surgical needs, and each particular doctor may have a different approach to post-surgical care. Although you should certainly heed the advice of your oral surgeon or dentist first and foremost, the tips we have provided here are general ones intended to keep your surgical site clean to prevent infection and to reduce pain and swelling.
To explain some of the most general post oral surgery care tips, we are going to assume that a patient recently had one or more wisdom teeth extracted. One of the first tips for diminishing post-surgical pain and reducing swelling is to ice the area for the first 48 hours. This can be done using store-bought ice packs or simply a plastic bag filled with ice. Ice should be applied to the exterior area near the surgical site (along the jawbone and/or cheeks) for 15-20 minutes at a time, with the same 15-20 minutes in between each icing. Using ice immediately following the procedure, and for up to 48 hours post operatively, can be one of the most critical ways to reduce swelling and diminish pain.
After 48 hours, however, ice doesn’t have much of an effect, and at this time, you can switch to moist heat if you are still in any discomfort or have swelling. Use the same time frame of 15-20 minutes on and then the same amount of time off between applications.
Another key to a successful post-surgical outcome is to keep the entire mouth and the surgical site clean. While you will need to avoid the area where the surgery was performed, most tooth extractions will allow for you to still gently brush your teeth, steering clear of the immediate site, as early as the evening of your surgery. It is important to keep up with regular tooth brushing and flossing to reduce the bacteria and plaque that can build up in your mouth and cause potential problems.
The day following your extraction, you’ll also probably be instructed to start rinsing with a warm salt water solution. This is generally done to address bacteria in the mouth, and the salt-water also aids in healing. You should not begin rinsing on the day of surgery because you do not want to dislodge the clot that has formed at the surgical site, so your doctor or dentist will typically instruct you to start rinsing with a salt water solution after 24 hours. You may also be given a syringe that you can use to fill with the salt water solution to flush out the surgical area directly, if your extraction was done on lower teeth. This is effective in dislodging any food or debris that may otherwise be caught in or near the site.
Additional instructions will be provided to you at the time of surgery. Depending on your procedure, you may be given an antibiotic to reduce the chance of infection, may be prescribed pain medication and may be given a restricted diet. Any and all instructions given to you by the person performing the procedure, or his or her staff, should be followed to promote the best possible surgical outcome with the most minimal pain or risk of infection or other complications.
For more information about oral surgery procedures and post-surgical care, contact Park Dental Care at 718-274-1515.