Dental Healing: 4 Steps to Take After Undergoing Oral Surgery

June 6, 2017

If you’re planning to undergo oral surgery, there are some things that you can do after your procedure to facilitate the healing process. Taking the proper precautions can help you avoid certain complications that could undo many of the positive effects of your surgery. Here are four great ways to care for yourself following oral surgery:

1. Eat with Caution

During the recovery process, you likely won’t be able to eat the way that you normally do. Foods that are spicy and acidic can cause a lot of irritation and should be avoided immediately after surgery. Drinking shakes and other beverages through a straw can cause a blood clot where a tooth was pulled to dislodge and result in a painful condition known as dry socket. Some of the best things to consume include protein powder shakes and other meal replacement supplements that will give you ample nutrition and help you heal faster. Other foods that are soft and don’t require a lot of chewing can also be eaten.

Some of the other foods that you might want to consider eating while you’re still in the recovery process are mash potatoes, jell-o, yogurt, applesauce, ice cream, pasta, and soft fruits and well-cooked vegetables. As for foods that you will definitely want to avoid are spicy foods (these will irritate any sores that you have), popcorn, chewy meats (think steak and pork), and alcohol.

2. Avoid Strenuous Workouts

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, try to resist the temptation to exercise too much while you’re in recovery. Whether you had your wisdom teeth pulled, underwent a soft tissue graft or received dental implants at the hands of a dental specialist, such as one from the Oral Surgery Center, working out at a rigorous pace can cause surgical areas to bleed and result in further complications. If you were sedated for your procedure and try to exercise too soon afterwards, you’ll likely feel more lethargic and put yourself at risk for injury. It’s best to do low-impact exercises if you feel compelled to work out. Yoga and light strength training are some of the best exercises to try. Basically, you don’t want to do anything that will make your teeth feel like they are rocking around in your gums—so no running!

3. Keep Talking to a Minimum

Talking forces you to use the muscles in your mouth, and doing too much of it can bring on complications. You might dislodge a blood clot or undo your stitches if you speak excessively immediately following your surgery. You may have to talk through clenched jaws for a few days until it’s safe to use your mouth freely again. Having a notepad to jot down messages or typing what you wish to say into a computer or mobile phone can save you from having to speak. You can also try using sign language cues to get your point across. Another great tool that you probably have on your hands is your cell phone. With it, you can resort to texting people rather than talking to them. You should be cautious in this regard for at least a day or two after your oral surgery. Before doing so and expecting others to follow along, it would be a good idea to make sure that your family and friends (those who are most likely to talk to you on a daily basis) know ahead of time what you are going through and how you’ll be handling communication during that time.

4. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping

Using pillows to keep your head elevated while sleeping is a great way to facilitate healing. If possible, try to get your head elevated to a 45-degree angle so that you’ll experience the best results. Keeping your head elevated can reduce throbbing in any wounds by enhancing the blood volume and blood vessel tone. You should sleep with your head elevated for at least the first two to three nights following the surgical procedure. You can also try applying an ice pack to the side of your face where your surgery was performed while you sleep.

If you are the type of person who moves around a lot while you are sleeping, then you might want to sleep on the couch. Put your pillows up against the armrest and that will help you to stay elevated while you are sleeping. It will also help prevent you from thrashing around as you will have limited space. If that doesn’t seem like the most comfortable thing to do, you can make the couch more comfortable by padding it down with blankets and quilts.

Oral surgery doesn’t always have to involve a prolonged recovery process, and you can get on the road to faster healing by making a few adjustments to your everyday routine. You should start preparing for recovery well in advance so that you’ll minimize your chances of experiencing problems.

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