Oral surgery is a type of surgery that is performed on the mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw. The most common oral surgery performed by a dentist in Harrisburg, NC is tooth extraction. This is usually because the tooth is deeply decayed or impacted, or because of gum disease or overcrowding in the mouth.
After every oral surgery, there is a period of recovery when you should follow your surgeon’s instructions to prevent infection and other types of complications.
There are two main therapies used to ease the pain after oral surgery:
● Pain medication
Icing can reduce both pain and swelling. Your surgeon will usually recommend applying ice packs to the side of your face where the surgery was performed for 15-minute intervals.
Your oral surgeon will likely recommend either Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), or a combination of the two, to ease your post-operative pain. For optimal pain relief, an “around-the-clock” regimen is recommended instead of treating pan only when it surfaces. This way you avoid the use of opioids that carry a risk of dependence and other side effects like respiratory depression, sedation, and constipation.
The healing process
Postoperative instructions for oral surgery are usually outlined by a day-by-day approach. Here is the typical healing process after tooth extraction:
First 24 hours
During the first 24 hours after surgery, it is best to rest and avoid any physical activity. You will probably also be advised not to drive, especially if you underwent general anesthesia or were given a sedative.
Slight bleeding is normal up to 24 hours after tooth extraction. To ease the bleeding it is recommended to bite down on a piece of damp sterile gauze with firm pressure for 30 minutes to one hour. If bleeding continues you should bite down on a moist tea bag since the tannic acid in teas has been shown to reduce bleeding and assist with clotting.
Swelling is common after oral surgery. To minimize any swelling and inflammation you need to apply ice cubes to the side of your face where the surgery was performed. It is also important to keep your head popped up with two or three pillows while resting and sleeping.
Two to three days
If you underwent a tooth extraction you will be able to resume normal activities by day two or three. This is also around the time that any stitches in your mouth will dissolve or fall out. On some rare occasions, your stitches will need to be removed y your oral surgeon.
For more extensive procedures, like having multiple teeth removed, it may be one full week before you will be able to resume normal activities.
Seven to ten days
By this time swelling is usually completely gone. If this is not the case or you have any concerns, contact your dentist. besides swelling, stiffness in the muscles of the face should also ease up. However, if the surgery involved your lower wisdom teeth, you may see slight bruising.
If you were prescribed antibiotics to help prevent infection, you may be near or at the end f your course around this time.
Most oral surgeons will recommend a two-week follow-up appointment where they will evaluate your wound and look for any signs of complications.
After oral surgery, you will be advised to brush gently with warm water and to rinse with a saline or saltwater solution. This keeps your mouth clean and helps with the healing process. By day three or four it is usually a good time to start brushing gently with toothpaste and flossing. However, you should avoid vigorous rinsing and spitting, as this can increase bleeding.
Issues that require medical attention
Even if you are extra-careful with your postoperative instructions, issues can still arise. Contact your surgeon if you encounter one or more of the following problems:
● Bleeding that cannot be stoped with gauze
● A fever that lasts more than 24 hours after surgery or the presence of pus (thick whitish or yellow substance) in your mouth
● Severe or persistent pain despite taking medication
● Severe or persistent swelling
● Signs of an allergic reaction
● Persistent numbness in your mouth and lips after the local anesthetic wears off
If you liked the article, check out 7 BEST PRACTICES FOR HEALTHY TEETH