If you are having any type of routine oral surgery. there are a handful of things to prepare for and expect. Oral surgery can range from tooth extractions, wisdom teeth extractions and more. Knowing ahead of time some things to expect about oral surgery can help manage expectations and any preparations or arrangements that should be done prior to your scheduled surgery.

You will need a responsible adult to drive you to and from surgery if you will be receiving IV sedation or General Anesthesia. It is important to cancel all appointments or work for the remainder of the day, and don’t make any decisions for the remainder of the day, or until you are fully recovered. You must refrain from heavy activity for the first 24 hours after any oral surgery.

You can expect a varying amount of pain after oral surgery depending on the severity of the surgery. On occasion, some patients experience the most discomfort 3 to 5 days post surgery. There can be mild tenderness in the treated area for up to two weeks. It is common to have moderate swelling and swelling will reach its peak in 48 to 72 hours after surgery. Icing during the first 24 hours is helpful to reduce swelling and pain. Alternate putting ice on your cheeks 20 minutes on and 5 minutes off for the first 24 hours. If you had surgery on both sides of the mouth, try filling damp soccer socks that are tied together with bags of crushed ice (toes under chin, legs tied on top of head). Icing to reduce swelling only works for the first 24 hours, then moist heat should be applied.

Bleeding should be minimal after leaving the office. If bleeding persists continue biting on gauze, changing for fresh gauze as needed. Occasionally there is mild oozing for up to 36 hours post surgery. Pressure stops bleeding so biting on gauze can help if bleeding persists. Be sure to remove gauze when eating or drinking. You can place a moist tea bag on extraction site to help stop bleeding for one hour, as the tannic acid from tea helps stop bleeding.

It is important not to rinse the first day after surgery and not to use a straw for the first 24 hours. Smoking within 48 hours of surgery causes dry sockets and should be avoided longer if possible. There may be a slight discoloration to the face and neck area from dissipation of blood in the tissues. Discoloration resolves itself in a few days. The anesthetic agents and pain medication can cause nausea; do not take narcotic pain medication on an empty stomach.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

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