Oral surgery care is no laughing matter. That’s why it’s so important to have a competent professional to perform your procedure. There is a caveat, though. No matter how great a job your dentist performs, the healing process depends your ability to follow certain protocols. One of them that is super important is to avoid smoking. This is very dangerous to participate in during the healing process, and can cause some very adverse effects.
What to Do After Oral Surgery
The first thing to keep in mind after oral surgery is to treat your mouth with care and caution. The wound should heal a few days after the procedure, but during this time there are a few other helpful tips to remember.
- Medication – Don’t take any medication with aspirin in it, as this can prevent your blood from clotting.
- Bleeding – After the procedure, your dentist will place a gauze in your mouth, which should remain for 30-45 minutes.
- Blood Clots – After the procedure is done, your blood will clot to aid the healing process. It’s important to be very careful, avoiding vigorous rinsing, cleaning and chewing in that area.
- Swelling – Swelling is quite normal after your procedure. Apply an ice compress in 20-minute intervals for the first 24 hours.
- Diet – Avoid drinking alcohol and hot liquids. Also, don’t chew in the affected area for a couple of days or until it feels comfortable.
- Rinsing – Rinse gently with salt water the day after the procedure is done, especially after meals, to remove any foreign particles.
The Dangers of Smoking
If you’re a smoker, you’ll need to refrain for at least the first 5 days after the procedure is complete. Smoking can dislodge the blood clot at the surgery site and cause a condition known as dry socket.
Dry socket is an infection in the empty tooth socket that occurs when the blood clot in that area has become dislodged or dissolved, leaving the bone and nerve exposed to air, food and germs in your mouth. This can be quite painful with the discomfort lasting up to 6 days.
Furthermore, smoking engulfs the cells in your mouth with carbon monoxide, which is the opposite of what you need to heal (the mouth and gums full of oxygen). By smoking, you slow the healing process considerably.
Your oral surgery does not have to be a complicated process. By employing a little discipline and following the advice of your dentist, you can heal properly in the least amount of time.
About the Author
Kerry G. Waldee, DDS has 35 years of experience in dentistry, yet continues to treat every patient with the warmth and enthusiasm he displayed on his first day of practice. He has advanced postgraduate training in restorative, sedation and implant dentistry, as well as Invisalign invisible orthodontics. Dr. Waldee is also an active member of numerous regional, state, and national organizations, including The American Dental Society of Anesthesiology and The Florida Dental Society of Anesthesiology. He practices at Comfort Dentists, urging patients to “contact us,” and can be reached for more information through his website.