Recovering from Oral Surgery: Practical Advice

There are many different types of oral surgery, and each one will have its own individual recovery process. It is important to take your recovery seriously in order to prevent further damage or injury and to make sure you heal properly. Here are just a couple of practical pieces of advice when recovering from an oral surgery procedure.

Types of Surgery

oral surgery

Oral surgery refers to the different surgical procedures performed on the mouth, teeth, jaw, and gums. Common oral surgery procedures include teeth extractions, dental implants, root canals, crowns, and bridges. There are many different oral problems that you may encounter in your life, so maintaining good oral hygiene should be part of your daily routine. Oral surgeries are just some of the many dental services that your dentist can provide you with, and regular visits are very important to maintain your oral hygiene. 

Post-Surgery Timelines

Every oral and maxillofacial surgery is different and will require individual recovery periods and requirements, so it is important to follow the advice that your dentist gives you and contact them if you have any queries or issues. At biltmore avenue family dentistry, a common example is tooth extraction, which can be performed for a variety of reasons. A tooth may be removed if there is irreparable damage or decay, to eliminate overcrowding, or help an impacted tooth, among many other reasons,

During the first 24 hours after having your tooth removed, you should rest, and not engage in any physical activity or driving, and stay home from work or school. Depending on how many teeth you had removed, you could be told to do this for a week. Around 2-3 days after surgery, any stitches in your mouth will begin to dissolve or fall out, and you may be able to resume some of your normal activities. After 7-10 days, you should see an almost complete disappearance of your swelling, but some bruising may remain, especially if your lower wisdom teeth were extracted. Stiffness can also start to reduce at this point.

After 2 weeks, your dentist will usually have a follow-up appointment to check on your progress. This is a very important appointment and should not be missed, as it allows your dentist or surgeon to look at your wound, how it is healing, and check for any signs of further complications such as infection.

Food and Drink

Following your oral surgery procedure, your dentist will often outline foods and drinks to avoid and recommend ones that you can consume. In general, soft foods and cold liquids such as yogurt and milkshakes are recommended in the first few days after surgery. You should avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods, as well as hot food and drink when your mouth is still numb, as you could burn yourself without realizing it. Smoking and drinking alcohol should also be avoided. 


In the first 24 hours after oral surgery, such as tooth extraction, bleeding is very common. To help ease this, you may be told to bite down on damp sterile gauze for 30 minutes to an hour, but it is vital that you do not sleep with gauze in your mouth as you may choke. Your dentist may also tell you to avoid drinking through a straw for at least a week after your oral surgery procedure, as the suction can dislodge the blood clot, which is what is keeping the wound in your mouth closed. 


It is also common to experience swelling and bruising following oral surgery, and applying ice can help to reduce the swelling and inflammation as it helps provide vasoconstriction. Your dentist will give you specific instructions about how to ice your face. For example, you may be told to do it for 15-minute intervals, with 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. You may also be told to prop your head up on several pillows when resting and sleeping. Make sure you do not put ice or cold packs directly onto your skin, as this can cause injury, so you should always have extra barriers between the ice and your skin.


After oral surgery, your dentist will give you specific instructions to help manage your post-operative pain. Pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil are commonly used to help with pain relief after oral surgery, but it is important to follow the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeons to make sure that you are taking the correct medication properly.

Infection and post-surgery oral hygiene

oral surgery

You may be prescribed antibiotics after surgery in order to help reduce the risk of infection, and it is important that you take these correctly, finish the course and contact your dentist if you have any side effects or questions. Maintaining good oral hygiene can also help reduce this risk, and you may be asked to brush your teeth gently, not with toothpaste but with warm water, after surgery, followed by rinsing your mouth with a saline solution.

This helps to keep the surgical site clean naturally and aids the healing process. You should also not spit the solution out but let it fall out of your mouth. After a few days, your dentist may allow you to begin gently using toothpaste and flossing again, but spitting should still be avoided as well as vigorous rinsing. You might also be encouraged to irrigate the surgical site using a syringe of tap water to help dislodge and remove food particles. 

Recovering from an oral surgery procedure is an individual experience, and your dentist will give you specific instructions to follow to ensure you heal properly. Regular visits to the dentist can help any dental problems be spotted early, as well as allowing your dentist to help you maintain any ongoing oral problems. You should contact us if you have any queries or concerns relating to oral surgery or your oral hygiene, as keeping your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw healthy is very important.