Oral surgery may be required for a number of reasons, such as a tooth needing to be extracted or replaced. Although patients may be wary of any sort of surgery at the dentist, most procedures are far simpler and safer than many people realize. By understanding what to expect during a procedure and afterward, patients can make the most of their dental experience and enjoy their new smiles, free of concern.
If you require oral surgery in or around the Amherst area, Dr. Ang is dedicated to ensuring you receive the highest quality treatment – and recovery – possible. To help you maintain accurate expectations, here is an approximate timeline for recovery, along with the common side effects of oral surgery.
After Oral Surgery
After surgery a certain degree of fatigue, wooziness, and disorientation immediately after surgery should be expected as the affects of the sedation fade. Most oral surgeries will be performed using a combination of local anesthesia and sedation, which will limit both discomfort and anxiety in patients. Although the effects of sedation are usually shorter and milder than general anesthesia, you should still expect to have someone to drive you to and from your appointment.
Even for minor surgeries, such as a single tooth extraction, it is best for patients to rest and take it easy for a day or two to give your body time to recover. This will allow the incisions to heal, while preventing excessive bleeding. Some minor bleeding may continue for a few hours after surgery, which can be controlled through the light application of a gauze pad.
The First Days of Recovery
As you begin to recovery from surgery, a few side effects can be expected. Their severity and duration depend largely on the type of surgery performed. Nevertheless, most patients will experience some combination of the following, beginning soon after surgery and showing improvement by the end of the first week:
- Discomfort: Whether from damaged nerves, gum, or bone tissue, it is common for patients to experience some pain or soreness early in recovery. To alleviate discomfort, your dentist will likely prescribe a painkiller; these are typically only needed for a few days. Some patients find that a milder drug, such as ibuprofen, is enough to curb their pain.
- Bruising: Some bruising can be expected, resulting in temporary discoloration of the skin. This typically appears a day or two after surgery, although delayed bruising may also appear once swelling begins to reside. Most discoloration should resolve within 10 days of surgery.
- Swelling: It is common for the jaw to swell following surgery, reaching its peak two to three days into recovery. More extensive procedures, such as bone grafts or multiple dental implants, tend to have longer and more pronounced periods of swelling.
How to Ease Your Recovery
Some oral surgeries take very little time to heal – patients often feel completely fine only a week after having their wisdom teeth removed. Other surgeries, such as bone grafts, require months for bone tissue to fully heal. No matter the length of recovery, however, here are some helpful tips to ensure successful results:
- Don’t irritate your gums: Immediately after surgery, your gum (and possibly bone) tissue should be left alone to heal. This may even include brushing and flossing in the first 24 to 48 hours, depending on your dentist’s instructions.
- Avoid hard or chewy foods: Any food that may put stress on your teeth and gums should be avoided for a specified period of time. A soft food diet is a good way to let your dental work heal comfortably. If possible, it is also helpful to chew on the opposite side of your mouth from where any incisions are.
- Maintain good hygiene: Once your dentist says it is alright to continue brushing and flossing, it is imperative that you maintain proper hygiene habits. If bacteria are allowed to grow near the site of surgery, an infection may develop.
- Apply an ice pack early on: The application of an ice pack over the first 24 to 48 hours can help reduce the onset of swelling and bruising. Apply the ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and then remove it for the same amount of time. After the first two days, however, this will have no effect. Additionally, try limiting your salt intake, as sodium may prolong or exacerbate swelling.
Schedule an Appointment At Amherst Village Dental
Whether you need restorative oral surgery or a cosmetic procedure, Dr. Ang and the staff at our practice can help you achieve the smile you want. From dental implants to porcelain veneers, we invite you to explore our numerous services offered. Contact us for additional information or to schedule an appointment.