Postoperative Care for a Dental Patient

A little stiffness, swelling around the surgical area, pain and discomfort is expected after oral surgery is performed. Postoperative care is part of dental procedure, and the recovery period may be prolonged if this care is neglected. To ensure an effective healing process follow these guidelines suggested by dental practitioners. Not all these will be applicable to your individual condition, but they will be helpful during the time of healing.

Post-Operative Care Best Practices

Protecting your surgical dressing – Surgical dressing is an important step taken to ensure an effective healing process. This dressing takes a few hours to harden, and the patient needs to be careful not to upset it during this time. A patient needs to avoid eating or drinking warm fluids until the dressing is hardened enough.

Oral Hygiene – Tooth brushing, rinsing and spitting should be specifically avoided on the day of surgery. From the next day, frequent gentle rinsing with warm salted water is suggested. Brushing can also be resumed, but with proper care that surgical site will remain untouched for the first two days.

Managing discomfort and pain – Post surgery a patient can feel certain amount of pain or discomfort. Dentists usually suggest a painkiller like Aspirin to ease the pain. A patient is also advised to avoid pressure on the teeth as it causes discomfort. If the patient experiences more acute pain consult the dentist for further directions or change of medicine.

Swelling or stiffness – Swelling usually increases over the first 2 days, and then it starts subsiding. Swelling can be controlled using an ice pack. Apply the ice pack to the cheeks for 20 minutes, and then remove it for 20 minutes. Repeat the procedure for next 3 – 4 hours when you arrive home after surgery.  In some cases, stiffness is felt on the second or third day following the surgery. Gentle stretching exercises and use of chewing gum at intervals can help relieve the condition.

Diet – Dentists advise you to avoid eating 2-3 hours following the surgery. For the first two days restrict your diet to liquid or semi-liquid food that requires almost no chewing. Chewing will probably loosen or break it off.

Postoperative care is important. It can be very helpful if the patient is observed by a responsible adult for first few days of the surgery. If the patient experiences a painful infection or a sore throat, we recommend them seeing their dentist for a change of medicine or other pain-relieving treatment to help relieve the pain or discomfort.