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Recovery Tips After Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Recovery Tips After Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryPhoto from Unsplash

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Scheduled for oral and maxillofacial surgery and curious about the recovery process? Maybe you’re worried about pain or wondering how long it will take before you can get back to your normal routine. Whatever you’re feeling or concerned about, you’re not alone.

This type of surgery can be daunting, but the good news is, you can navigate the recovery process smoothly. With proper awareness and preparedness, you can ease your mind and bounce back from surgery in no time.

Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth and fast healing process after having oral surgery.

We at Denticine, also use an antiseptic nutrient based hydrogel CNM as a wound dressing. It is soothing and promotes healing and significantly reduces the risk of dry socket.

Keep Your Mouth Clean – the Critical Step

Oral surgery creates a wound in the mouth. If this wound isn’t kept clean, it certainly can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Brushing your teeth gently and rinsing your mouth with warm salt water several times daily helps keep the surgical site clean. This reduces the risk of infection, leading to faster healing.

Cleaning your mouth carefully also helps remove food debris that if left in place it is an invitation for bacteria to have a ‘party’ causing discomfort and swelling after surgery. Additionally, proper oral care can help prevent complications such as a dry socket. This occurs when a blood clot at the surgical site is dislodged, exposing the underlying bone and nerves.

Your oral surgeon may provide specific postoperative oral care instructions based on your needs. Follow these instructions to optimise your recovery and minimise the risk of complications.

Manage Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling are common side effects after oral surgery, like removing wisdom teeth. However, they shouldn’t be unbearable — there are simple ways to manage them.

Your oral surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you manage any pain or discomfort. Take the medication exactly as prescribed, even if you don’t feel any pain initially.

Pain medication is most effective when taken proactively, so don’t wait until the pain becomes severe before taking medication.

As for the swelling, apply ice packs to the outside of your face near the surgical site. Your oral surgeon might also recommend using a cool mist humidifier to help reduce swelling and keep your airways moist. Elevating your head when sleeping or resting can also help reduce swelling.

Embrace Soft Foods

Your mouth will be tender after oral and maxillofacial surgery. Foods that are hard or crunchy, such as chips, nuts, and hard lollies, should be avoided as they can exert pressure on the surgical site and cause irritation.

Opt for soft foods like mashed potatoes, yoghurt, applesauce, and cooled chicken broth. They’re easy to chew and swallow, minimising discomfort and avoiding disruption to the surgical site. This will help expedite the healing process.

As your mouth heals, you can gradually reintroduce more solid foods. Your oral surgeon will provide specific dietary recommendations based on your procedure.

Rest Up

Your body needs all its energy focused on healing after oral maxillofacial surgery.

Plan to take some time off work, school, or household chores so you can prioritise getting plenty of rest. Avoid strenuous activities and keep your head elevated, even while sleeping. This allows your body to repair itself and reduces the risk of complications.

Ask friends and family for help with errands and chores during this time. The more you rest, the faster you’ll feel like yourself again. The key to a smooth and quick recovery is to listen to your body and take it easy post-surgery.

Water Is Your Friend

Drinking plenty of water and nutritious fluids (protein shakes) is essential to stay hydrated for a smooth healing process after oral surgery. Aim to drink small sips of water frequently throughout the day rather than large amounts at once. Here’s why:

  • Promotes Healing: Adequate hydration boosts healing post-surgery
  • Prevents Dry Mouth: Drinking water can help alleviate this discomfort and keep your mouth moist, which is essential for oral health
  • Flushes Out Toxins: Drinking water helps flush out toxins from your body, reducing the risk of infection and promoting overall healing

In addition to water, you can also consume hydrating foods and beverages such as herbal teas, broths, and fruits with high water content, such as watermelon and cucumber.

If you want to gauge your hydration levels, check the colour of your urine. Ideally, it should be a pale yellow colour. If it’s darker, you may need to drink more water.

Monitor for Signs of Infection

While some swelling and discomfort are normal after surgery, certain symptoms could indicate an infection. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing complications. Watch out for signs such as:

  • Severe or increasing pain that is not relieved by medication
  • High fever
  • Swelling that gets worse after the first few days
  • Pus or foul-smelling discharge from the surgical site

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your oral surgeon immediately. Delaying treatment for an infection can lead to complications. 

Your oral surgeon will evaluate the symptoms and may prescribe antibiotics or other treatments to manage the infection. Make sure you follow their instructions closely and attend any follow-up appointments to ensure the infection is properly treated.

Request an Appointment 

Oral and maxillofacial surgery can sound intimidating, especially when you’re unsure what recovery entails. The good news is, you don’t have to navigate it alone. Your oral surgeon can answer all your questions and address any concerns you have, supporting you every step of the way.

At Denticine, we understand that oral surgery can raise questions and concerns. That’s why our friendly patient care coordinators are here to equip you with the knowledge to ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery.

Don’t hesitate — get started by scheduling your consultation appointment today.

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