Whether you’ve had a tooth extraction, root canal therapy, or a more complex dental procedure, there are certain things you can do after it’s complete to increase your comfort and promote healing. In this article, we offer a few basic recovery tips.
1. Get Plenty of Rest
Avoid physical activity and exercise for two to three days. Vigorous activity soon after your procedure can dislodge the blood clots that are necessary for your mouth to heal. When lying down, you can keep your head propped up with pillows to help reduce any swelling.
2. Ice As Necessary
Ice helps keep inflammation down and helps to numb the area of pain. If you don’t have a proper ice pack, you can put ice in a ziplock bag and wrap it in a hand towel, or even just place ice directly in a towel. Then, place the ice pack on the affected area for 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off. Remember to never place ice directly onto your skin or to ice longer than 20 minutes.
3. Eat Soft Foods Only
For the first few days after surgery, be sure to follow a liquid or soft food diet. Drink plenty of water and avoid soda. Pureed soup, yogurt, smoothies, pudding, gelatin, and mashed sweet potatoes are tasty and easy to eat. Definitely avoid drinking through straws and eating anything hard or crunchy until a dental professional gives you the go-ahead. Also, until the anesthesia wears off, avoid anything hot, because the numbness can cause you to burn your mouth without even knowing it!
4. Take Prescribed Antibiotics
As in general medicine, antibiotics are also sometimes prescribed in dentistry. If prescribed antibiotics for an infection, it’s very important to finish the entire course as directed. Not doing so can be harmful to public health by ultimately leading to antibiotic resistance.
5. Brush Gently & Keep Your Mouth Clean
Although you shouldn’t brush or floss the teeth in the surgical area for at least 24 hours, you should continue to gently brush and floss the other parts of your mouth. After 24 hours have passed, you can rinse gently with warm salt water. However, avoid vigorous rinsing and spitting. In many cases following oral surgery, the antibacterial rinse chlorhexidine is prescribed, which provides the surgical area with extra protection.
6. Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol
Smoking and using other forms of tobacco are incredibly harmful for oral health. Not surprisingly, it should be avoided when recovering from oral surgery — as should alcohol, because they both can interfere with the healing process.
Further Concerns? Contact Us!
If you have any questions about your after-care instructions or if you experience abnormal pain, swelling, or bleeding, call us at 916-691-6802. Dr. Tin and our team at Villa Vista Dental are here to make your recovery as smooth, pain-free, and successful as possible.
Reach out to us with any additional questions about your recovery!