It’s completely natural to feel a bit anxious prior to your oral surgery at DFW Oral Surgeons. But don’t worry! We want you to feel calm and comfortable before your appointment.
That’s why we’ve created a guide that outlines what to expect before and after surgery. It’s applicable regardless of the type of surgical procedure you’re having. From soft tissue procedures to impacted teeth to bone grafts to wisdom teeth extraction, our guidelines are quite similar.
Read on to learn how you should prepare for your procedure and tips to ensure a speedy recovery!
Preparing for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Regardless of the type of oral surgery you’re having, there are things you should do in advance to ensure things go smoothly. Your preparation starts at your consultation.
Discuss Your Surgery in Detail
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! During your consultation, we’ll discuss the procedure, the type of anesthesia, recovery and more. But if you have a question or want to talk about something in more detail, just ask. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
Additionally, be sure to let us know if you have health conditions or will be having another medical procedure prior to your oral surgery. It is very important for our team to be aware of these things to ensure a good outcome.
Finally, talk with our team about insurance coverage, if applicable. The last thing you want is to find out your insurance has denied your claim after your procedure has been done.
You may think you can drive yourself home following your procedure. However, patients who’ve had general anesthesia shouldn’t drive for 24-48 hours. Other types of anesthesia, even local anesthesia, can impair your ability to drive safely immediately following surgery. That’s why you should have a friend or family member drive you home.
If you are having a more involved procedure, like corrective jaw surgery or bone graft, you’ll also need to arrange for some help at home. If you have kids, consider arranging childcare for the first day or so. If you live alone, consider having someone stay overnight or at least check in with you regularly.
Know the Rules
If you’re having general anesthesia, you will need to refrain from eating or drinking for 8-12 hours prior to your procedure. If you’re having another type of anesthesia, you may need to limit your intake as well. Be sure to ask us for guidance so everything goes well on the day of your procedure.
After oral surgery, you’ll need to modify your diet for a few days. Shop in advance so you don’t have to go to the store after your procedure. Plan to have soft foods like soup, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, ice cream and applesauce on hand.
Finally, you will not be permitted to smoke for 12 hours before your procedure and for 24 hours after.
Recovering from Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
After surgery, you’ll need to follow our guidelines closely to ensure a speedy recovery.
Take it Easy
Following any type of oral surgery, you’ll need to rest and avoid exertion. Keep your head elevated to reduce swelling. Avoid exercise for two to three days. Exercise increases blood flow to your mouth, which can dislodge clots and cause bleeding.
Keep Your Mouth Clean
While you shouldn’t brush or floss the surgical area until it’s fully healed, you’ll need to keep your mouth clean. After the first 24 hours, rinse your mouth carefully with warm saltwater four times a day. Dissolve about a teaspoon in a glass of water for the right mix. Rinse after every meal or snack so food particles are removed from the surgical site.
Control Pain and Swelling
Use ice packs to reduce facial pain and swelling. For the first 24 hours, place a cold compress on the affected area for 15 minutes and remove for 15 minutes. Repeat.
Use pain-relieving medication at our direction. Our team will provide you a prescription for medication or instruct you about which over-the-counter remedies are safe to take.
Eat Soft Foods
You’ll want to eat soft foods for the first week to 10 days. Mashed potatoes, smoothies, milkshakes, soups, mac and cheese and eggs are great options.
Avoid hard, sticky or chewy foods until completely healed. You’ll also want to avoid eating or drinking anything that’s extremely hot until after the anesthesia wears off. You may burn your mouth in the process.
Lastly, avoid drinking alcohol for a week after your procedure as it can inhibit healing.
Know When to Seek Help
Even if you have followed postoperative instructions to a T, you could develop a complication. Contact us or seek medical attention immediately if you experience:
- Bleeding that cannot be controlled by biting on a piece of gauze
- Signs of infection. This can include a fever that lasts longer than 24 hours after surgery and/or pus in your mouth.
- Severe pain that can’t be controlled with medication.
- Persistent swelling that affects swallowing or breathing
- Numbness in your mouth or lips after the local anesthetic wears off
This information will help you prepare for your oral surgery and be ready for a speedy recovery. If you have questions about your procedure or need clarification on any topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us at DFW Oral Surgeons by calling 972-539-1491.