The average number of oral surgeries per year has risen sharply since 2010. More and more people are getting access to the care they need. Are you one of them? Preparing for oral surgery may seem overwhelming. The healing process is daunting, but you can have a safe and healthy recovery if you follow the right steps.

Read on to learn all about what to expect from your oral surgery healing period as well as how to prepare.

The General Oral Surgery Recovery Process

The process of recovering from surgery is going to vary depending on the specific oral surgery procedure that you experienced. In general, however, healing times are fairly brief.

Immediately after your surgery, you’re likely to experience redness, swelling, and minor bleeding. Light bleeding can last for up to 24 hours. If you continue to bleed after this time, it’s a good idea to contact your surgeon.

If you had a local anesthetic, you may be numb for several hours after surgery. Be careful with any hot foods or drinks. You’re more likely to burn your mouth or bite your gums when your mouth is numb.

You may have difficulty eating, drinking, and even speaking for the first few days after surgery. This is normal.

What to Do to Aid Your Recovery

Recovering from surgery is always going to be uncomfortable, but there are a few things that you can do to make it easier. Here are a few “dos” when it comes to making your recovery process as comfortable as possible.

Ask Your Surgeon Questions

You should be asking your surgeon questions about recovery from the time of your initial consultation. While your surgeon is sure to talk to you about the recovery process after your surgery is over, having as much information as possible before the day of your surgery is key.

Ask about expected healing times, recommendations for medications and food, and anything else that may impact your recovery process. It’s also a good idea to ask about future follow-up appointments so you can plan for them.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Once you have information from your oral surgeon, start making preparations.

Anticipate taking the rest of the day after your surgery off from work or strenuous tasks. Prepare a comfortable place to rest, and if possible, prepare food that will be easy to eat so you can just heat it up later.

If you’re going to need someone to drive you home, it’s a good idea to start asking early on, especially if you live alone.

This will make your recovery far less stressful.

Take Your Medication

It’s likely that your surgeon will provide you with medication after the procedure. For some people, this includes prescription painkillers while others just get anti-inflammatories. Regardless, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions.

Even if you’re not in pain, take your medication for at least the first day.

Keep Up With Oral Hygiene

You’re going to want to keep your mouth clean while you’re healing, but this doesn’t mean you should be brushing and flossing. As a matter of fact, you should avoid touching the surgical site until your surgeon tells you it’s appropriate to do so.

During the first day of healing, your surgeon may tell you not to rinse your mouth at all. Following this, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth several times per day with salt water.

This also varies depending on the type of surgery you undergo, so always ask your surgeon for hygiene instructions.

Get Plenty of Rest

During your oral surgery recovery, you want to give your mouth time to heal. Rest is crucial. Any energy that you expend could be otherwise used for healing.

Again, plan on taking the rest of the day off. Don’t do mild exercise or even difficult housework during the first 24 hours of your healing process.

What Not to Do

So with that in mind, what should you avoid if you want the easiest healing process possible? Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. Here are a few tips.

Don’t Eat Hard Foods

You want to stick to soft foods, if not a completely liquid diet, for the first day of your healing process. Foods like mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and smoothies make great choices.

If you had a tooth extracted, do not drink anything with a straw or you risk “dry socket“.

As we mentioned before, you should also avoid food or drinks that are too hot. Make sure your food is lukewarm, at least during the first day of your healing process.

Don’t Overexert Yourself

You should avoid doing anything strenuous after surgery. For at least the first week, stick to minimal exercise if anything. Don’t lift heavy objects, run, or do anything else that could impede your body’s healing process.

You will have time for the gym later.

Don’t Drink Alcohol or Smoke

Drinking and smoking are bad for the healing process. You should avoid both for at least the first 24 hours after your surgery.

Smoking can also increase the risk of developing “dry socket” if you’ve had an extraction.

Are You Ready for Your Oral Surgery?

Oral surgery can be scary, but don’t worry! Your recovery process will be a breeze if you keep these tips in mind and follow your surgeon’s instructions. Prepare yourself for an easy healing process.

At Jenkin’s, Morrow, and Gayheart Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Center, we aim to give you the best surgical experience possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.