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Last Reviewed 25 September 2023

Medically reviewed by Dr. Peter Doherty, Bachelor Dent. Sc. (Trinity College Dublin) 2003, MFDS (RCSI), PG Cert Implant Dentistry (Newcastle), Implant Dentist

Table of Contents

If you're about to have a surgical procedure with 3Dental, there are some vital aftercare steps. Whether you've had a wisdom tooth extraction, bone grafting, gum contouring or sinus lift, the aftercare process ensures a speedy recovery and reduces the risk of complications.

We've put together this helpful oral surgery aftercare guide, which explains the healing process and ensures you reduce post-operative pain.

What Happens During The Oral Surgery?

Oral surgeries are performed mostly under local anaesthetic. If you are nervous, if the procedure will be long or complicated then IV sedation may be used to improve your comfort. Once we complete the procedure, we will place a folded gauze pack in your mouth.

Sedation

If you have received sedation, avoid the following for 24 hours: driving a vehicle, cycling, operating machinery, signing important documents and making important decisions.

It is possible for you to begin feeling sedated again within 24 hours of the initial sedative being given.

You must ensure you have somebody to stay with you on the night after the procedure.

What Happens After The Surgery?

You will be asked to gently bite down on the pack to apply pressure, which prevents excessive bleeding and allows the surgical site to form a blood clot. Pressure for 30 - 60 minutes should stop any bleeding. If there is excessive bleeding beyond that you can use fresh gauze, or if you don't have any of that a damp teabag can be used as a substitute. The tannin in tea is actually an effective agent to halt bleeding.

After surgery, you can go home and continue your day - although some people opt to take a day or two away from work, it really depends on the extent of the procedure. Having one tooth removed routinely would not warrant time away from work, having lower wisdom teeth removed would require a few days of rest.

Manage Bleeding

Bleeding is expected at the site for up to 24 hours afterwards, but changing gauze as required and keeping the head propped up can help you manage it. You might also notice blood-tinged saliva, which is completely normal.

  • Remember to remove the gauze before drinking, eating or sleeping and monitor the situation.
  • Physical activity should be avoided for 24 hours also. It increases the heart rate, opens blood vessels and stimulates bleeding.

Individuals taking blood thinners might notice more bleeding, but if it is profuse, or if bleeding continues more than 1-2 days, or worsens, you should seek medical attention.

Dealing With Pain

Any surgical area will be tender initially, and oral surgery can result in some pain, which will subside as the site begins to heal.

We recommend taking pain medication before the local anaesthetic wears off, and most people find that paracetamol with ibuprofen keeps discomfort at bay. Ibuprofen also has an anti inflammatory effect.

Please do not exceed the recommended dose.

  • Paracetamol 1g every 4 hours with a maximum dose of 4g in a 24 hour period
  • Also take 400mg ibuprofen every 4-6 hours with a maximum of 2.4g in a 24 hour period. (Avoid if you have asthma or stomach problems)

Before taking more powerful medicines, speak to the clinic directly and verifying their suitability is essential.

Swelling

Swelling is common following a surgical procedure. The application of ice packs during the first 24 hour may help. It usually peaks within 72 hours and gradually reduces.

Stitches

If you have stitches in your mouth these will be dissolvable. They will fall out by themselves in 2 to 3 weeks.

Dry Socket

Dry socket occurs in approximately 2-5% of all extractions. It is not an infection, and it occurs via disintegration of the blood clot as the surgical area begins to heal, leaving the bone in the socket exposed and sore. The patient with dry socket can experience severe pain in the jaw, which typically increases 1-2 days post extraction, and you might need stronger pain relief medicine. Antibiotics are not effective against dry socket.

Our dental surgeon can apply a medicated dressing if the discomfort is severe. Certain people are just more prone to dry socket, and it is more common in smokers.

Preventing Infections

In some circumstances your oral surgeon may also take steps to prevent infection of the surgical area by prescribing antibiotics. If you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take the full prescribed course, as stopping early can lead to bacterial resistance.

We might also give you an irrigation syringe, which enables you to clean the wound and remove bacteria and maintain optimal oral hygiene.

Traditional brushing aggravates surgical sites, but irrigation removes any food and helps avoid infection.

Following your dentist's instructions ensures you use the device properly.

We recommend beginning irrigation a week after your procedure to ensure minimal irritation and pain.

Maintaining Oral Hygiene

You should always maintain hygiene after oral surgery but avoid irritating the surgical area.

Gently brush your teeth using a soft toothbrush, and stay away from the wound until it's healed.

Do not rinse your mouth excessively on the day of surgery as this can encourage bleeding. It is fine to brush your teeth gently before going to bed.

Starting the day after surgery please rinse your mouth 3-4 times daily, for one week, with one of the following:

  • Warm salty mouthrinse-1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water
  • Corsodyl alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Kin mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth after that period with warm water and salt can provide relief, and your dentist might also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash.

Remember not to aggressively swish around any mouthwash, as this can cause or exacerbate bleeding.

Numbness

Local anaesthetic will leave your mouth

Eating And Drinking

It's essential to avoid hot foods after your surgery and stick to cool, soft foods instead. In the first few days after your surgery, we recommend eating:

  • Soup (cooled to room temperature)
  • Porridge
  • Ice cream
  • Yoghurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Mashed potatoes

You should also avoid hot drinks and stick to water whenever possible. Fizzy drinks and alcohol can irritate your mouth - especially if you're using a straw.

Avoid alcohol and smoking for at least 48 hours. If you are taking antibiotics, it is best to avoid alcohol for the length of the course.

Moving To Solid Foods

When the surgical area begins to heal, you can gradually introduce more foods into your diet, including hot food. However, avoiding crunchy foods such as carrots, popcorn, and crisps is advisable until the wound heals over completely.

Exercise

Avoid exercise and strenuous activity for at least 24 hours

Top Tips For A Minimally Disruptive Healing Process

Following these post-operative instructions can help you recover from oral surgery and quickly return to daily life. We've put together some tips to ensure a speedy recovery with minimal chances of infection:

  • Talk to your oral surgeon about what you can expect.
  • Use gauze immediately after the surgery and monitor the bleeding.
  • Consume only cold drinks on the first day after the surgery, as hot drinks can stimulate bleeding
  • Keep your head elevated and propped up by two pillows to minimise swelling.
  • Follow directions when taking pain medication to avoid overdosing.
  • Apply ice as and when needed while also getting plenty of rest.
  • Avoid smoking and vaping after your surgery.
  • If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.
  • Avoid any physical activity that could harm your mouth, including contact sports. Rest will speed up your recovery.
  • If you notice pus in your mouth or experience a fever after your treatment please contact us immediately.

Our dedicated team will help you recover, ensuring the best possible care. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Any Additional Concerns

If you have any doubts or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic directly.