People have oral surgery for many different reasons. One common reason for the surgery is to remove impacted wisdom teeth or other impacted teeth. The surgery requires sedation, but such procedures are common and are not usually cause for major concern.
Before Oral Surgery
In general, you should not drink or eat anything for at least six hours before your scheduled surgery. For instance, if you have an early morning appointment, you should stop eating and drinking by midnight the night before. You should not take any medications or even water, unless your surgeon’s office instructs you to do so.
In some cases, your fasting instructions may be slightly different. Those who are going under general anesthesia are instructed to fast. However, those who will be sedated but conscious may be able to eat a light snack a few hours before the procedure. If you are allowed to eat, choose something simple like a piece of fruit or yogurt. Avoid spicy foods or those that might upset your stomach. Always follow the instructions of your dental office.
If you will be put under general anesthesia, then you should bring a driver with you to your appointment. The driver is there for moral support, but you will also need him or her there to drive you home afterward. You should not drive for at least 24 hours after your surgery.
Be sure to brush and floss your teeth before the surgery. A clean mouth may help reduce the risk of infection. It is recommended that you do not smoke or use any tobacco products for at least twelve hours before your surgery. You should also reschedule your appointment if you’re feeling sick.
After the Surgery
After your appointment, you should plan to take it easy for the remainder of the day. Do not drive or operate any heavy machinery. Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for several days after the surgery.
You are typically advised to have only liquids for the first 24 hours after your appointment. Do not use a drinking straw for your beverages. Doing so could damage the site of the surgery. After the first 24 hours, you may begin eating soft, bland foods. Foods like plain yogurt, eggs, mashed potatoes, soup and applesauce are generally recommended. Avoid crunchy or spicy food, and this is because they could irritate or damage the surgical site. You should also avoid foods that are chewy or hard, as they could also irritate your gums. Even acidic foods and beverages like tomato sauce and orange juice could irritate your surgical site.
If you begin eating particular foods or beverages that cause pain or irritation in your mouth, then stop eating them. Choose another food or drink instead. You should not drink alcohol for several days after your surgery. It is normal to have some soreness and pain for a couple of weeks after your surgery. This pain and discomfort can generally be controlled with over-the-counter meds, or your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain reliever.
Call the dental office if you notice bleeding or pain after eating. Slight swelling is normal for several weeks after dental surgery. It is also normal for your gums to bleed for a few hours after the surgery. However, if you notice severe swelling or excessive bleeding that interferes with eating or normal activities, call your dental office.
Twenty-four hours after your surgery, you can begin rinsing your mouth with a mixture of salt and warm water. Mix one cup of warm water with one teaspoon of salt. You can swish this around in your mouth 3-4 times each day for about two weeks. It is not recommended that you continue rinsing with this solution for longer than two weeks because eventually the salt would damage the enamel on your teeth.
In most cases, oral surgery patients heal with little to no complications. Fast before your surgery and do not eat for 24 hours afterward. Eat soft food for a few days during your recovery time. Remember to call the dental office if you experience persistent pain, excessive bleeding or any unusual symptoms.