At some point, one may likely undergo dental surgery for several reasons, such as tooth extraction, dental implants, dental bone grafts, or periodontal surgery for your gums. As per a statistical study, Caries (untreated teeth cavities) is considered the most common reason many people undergo dental surgery, garnering 52.2% 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178127/of the respondents, followed by periodontal disease. With dental surgeries, treatment can be done to address any disease or other defects that may affect your oral health.
Recovering From Dental Surgery: At A Glance
Besides the surgery itself, the recovery process after oral surgery also plays a role in your overall dental health. One must follow the post-surgery instructions provided by the dental surgeon to minimize the risk of side effects or infections.
Depending on the type of surgery, the recovery may take about a week up to several weeks for your gums to heal completely. During recovery, you may experience symptoms and signs of discomfort in your gums, such as bleeding, bruising, headache, swelling, and sometimes, dizziness.
Fortunately, there are ways to help alleviate the symptoms, avoid possible complications, and heal your gums. For your guide, here are the following tips to achieve a speedy recovery and restore gum health after dental surgery.
1. Take the prescribed pain medications or relievers
Dental surgeons are aware that you’ll likely feel pain and sensitivity around your gums after the surgery. Thus, they may recommend medications, such as Allograft tissue products for dentists. These are products designed to reduce the recovery time, especially if you’ve had bone grafting surgery. These can also speed up the healing of mouth ulcers.
Other essential medications they’ll prescribe may include painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics. These medications can help you live your day comfortably, avoid potential infections and complications, and eventually restore your gum’s health.
2. Take a rest to protect the surgical area
Although dental surgery only involves a small part of your body (e.g., gums, teeth, or jaw), it’s still recommended that you take a full-body rest for a few hours to at least a day before resuming your daily routine activities. Otherwise, doing strenuous activities right after dental surgery could accelerate blood flow, causing your gum wound to blood heavily and severely swell.
So, take it easy and avoid doing any workouts, exercises, or strenuous chores for at least a day or more (depending on the type of dental surgery you had). That way, you won’t disturb your gum wound and slow its recovery.
3. Apply cold compress
Your dental surgeon may recommend you apply a cold compress to your face during the first 24 to 48 hours to minimize discomfort, bruising, and swelling. But for more intensive oral surgeries, the surgeon may ask you to bite a gauze containing an antifibrinolytic substance to promote blood clotting and healing. The gauze must be kept in your mouth for at least 30 minutes. Then, once the heavy bleeding stops, you can continue applying a cold compress at home.
4. Follow the recommended food list
After dental surgery, your surgeon will recommend increasing your nutrient intake to help your body, specifically, your gums, heal quickly. When choosing nutritious foods to eat, opt for cold and soft foods such as:
- Greek yogurt
- Mashed potatoes
- Fruit or veggie smoothies
- Blended soups
Besides their nutrients and vitamins, these foods are easier to eat and may relieve pain in your gums.
Additionally, you’ll be advised to avoid certain foods, such as:
- Chewy or hard foods: can be painful for your gum wounds and increase your risk of suddenly biting your lips, tongue, and cheek while your mouth is still numb after surgery
- Crunchy foods: can get stuck in the wounded gum and disrupt healing
- Spicy foods: can cause irritation, swelling, and pain in the gum wound
- Alcohol: might irritate the wound or clash with the prescribed medication
Drinking plenty of liquids, especially water, is also recommended to flush away any food particles that might get stuck in your gum wound. Drinking fluids may also promote faster healing for your gum health.
5. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol
For alcohol drinkers and smokers, you must avoid consuming them for at least 7 to 14 days after the dental surgery, as both can delay the recovery process of your gums. Due to their strong chemicals, alcohol and cigarettes (or other smoking paraphernalia) can also put your gums at risk of complications and infections.
6. Maintain practicing good dental hygiene
The following hours after the surgery, your surgeon may advise you not to floss or brush your teeth to avoid touching and irritating the wound. But for the next day, ensure you go back to your dental hygiene practices to prevent infection. If the wound is still swelling or has slight bleeding, you can use a soft-bristle toothbrush or buy a post-surgical toothbrush to gently clean your teeth and gums without affecting the wound or the surgical site.
7. Attend post-surgery visits
Lastly, don’t forget to attend your post-surgery appointments scheduled by your dental surgeon. They usually schedule these appointments for their patients to check the progress of the surgical site. If you’ve experienced complications, attending post-surgery visits will allow you to talk to your surgeon or dentist for a proper diagnosis.
Ultimately, restoring your gum’s health after dental surgery largely depends on the habits and good dental hygiene habits you do post-surgery. The length of recovery and gum restoration may differ for each person, but following these tips can help speed up your gum’s healing process.
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