You’ve made it home after dental surgery and now it’s time to recover. It’s either that or you’re preparing yourself for one and want to know what you’re going to need to do afterwards, since you’ll probably be a bit groggy afterwards and trying to read the post-operation instructions might be a chore. Either way, getting yourself ready to heal fast and be out and about in the world again is a snap. All you must do is follow a few simple rules in key areas.
Before we dive into that though, there is another option besides having to go home with a gaping space where your tooth used to be – dentures. There is the option to have one made that same visit and can last three to six months. That’s more than enough time to have your surgery heal and for you to get used to chewing normally again. Now… those key areas to recovery:
Chances are good that you’re not going to want to eat at first. You’ve just had someone rooting around in your mouth and pulling stuff out. The pain medication is going to start wearing off, which can make your jaw hurt. It’s still important that you eat, since the food’s going to have nutrients in it that can help speed your healing. Soft food is the way to go here – you can have anything from smoothies to yogurt to cold pasta to soup. There are a bunch of delicious recipes out there, including Banana -Mango Shake, Chocolate-Banana Smoothie, Orange-Carrot Soup, and Gazpacho Soup. One warning… and it needs to be in all caps: DO NOT USE A STRAW. Even if you’re using a same-day denture that the surgeon put in. It may hurt to open your mouth but using a straw can suck out the post-surgery blood clot, and that could result in dry socket, which means the bone is exposed. Also, no spicy foods for two weeks after the surgery.
Brushing and Gargling
First off, wait until 24 hours have passed, even with the denture, since you run the risk of loosening the blood clot that’s formed since the surgery. That can result in an annoying amount of blood coming out or it can introduce an infection that can set your recovery back… a lot, if it’s bad. Once you’ve waited, start brushing your normal way two days later. Before that, you can brush with a dry toothbrush on your tongue to keep bacteria from forming there. A good thing to do is get a cup, fill it with warm water and put in a teaspoon worth of salt. Gargle with that four to five times a day, or after every meal or snack. It helps flush out any bacteria and prevents infection. Don’t swish too hard in your mouth, since you could damage the sutures.
Like any other kind of surgery, your body is going to need time to heal. Rest is one way of allowing that process to speed up. Don’t do anything especially active for the first 24 hours. When you’re sleeping, prop your head up with pillows to avoid making the bleeding get worse or start again.
Again, this process can also be sped up with the temporary dentures mentioned above. Not only can you heal faster, you won’t feel self-conscious about going out in public with a gap in your smile. It’s something that you should seriously consider doing – after all… you want to be out and about with no worries.
There’s going to be initial pain for the first few days. You can take some painkillers, but if you feel nausea, chills or have a fever, contact us at whichever Acadia Dental office is closer to you: Hagerstown or Frederick and come in if it’s a true emergency. If you follow the instructions though, you stand an excellent chance of just having to resume your regular visits, which will make all of us smile.