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Recovering from Oral Surgery: What to Expect

Recovering from Oral Surgery: What to Expect

There are a number of reasons to undergo oral surgery. Perhaps you have gum disease or deep tooth decay. Or maybe you need your wisdom teeth extracted or an implant set in your jaw to replace a missing tooth. No matter which procedure you need, you should plan for a short recovery period afterward.

Daniel Park, DDS, at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California, provides a full range of dentistry services. That means you always have someone you can trust, whether you need a dental exam and cleaning, extraction, or full-mouth restoration. Dr. Park offers these general guidelines for what you can expect after having oral surgery.

Treating the pain, swelling, and bleeding

When it comes to getting your surgery, you won’t feel a thing. And if you’re anxious, tell Dr. Park. Dr. Park specializes in treating dental anxiety and fear, so he can keep you relaxed and comfortable even before you arrive. 

However, like any type of surgery, oral procedures often come with some postoperative pain, swelling, and bleeding. 


Dr. Park provides detailed instructions on how to take your pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to manage your symptoms. These medications usually include acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil®).


In addition to medication, Dr. Park also recommends applying ice packs to your face in the area where your surgery occurred. For best results, you should plan on icing in 15-minute intervals, meaning 15 minutes on your face and then 15 minutes off. 


In most cases, Dr. Park suggests resting and keeping your head elevated. To slow bleeding, gently bite on gauze pads or a moist tea bag to apply constant pressure in the area until the bleeding lessens. However, do not sleep with these objects in your mouth as they could pose a choking hazard.

Getting back to activities

The first 24 hours after oral surgery usually involves plenty of rest and inactivity, so you should plan on staying home from work or school. You should also plan on having a ride to and from your procedure, especially if you receive sedation or general anesthesia.

Fortunately, you can usually expect to resume most normal activities in two or three days, and if you have stitches in your mouth, they could begin dissolving or falling out on their own. However, more extensive procedures can require a week or more of recovery time.

By the time 7-10 days pass, you should have little if any swelling or stiffness remaining. Dr. Park often recommends a follow-up appointment around the two-week mark to evaluate your recovery.

Eating and drinking

When you have oral surgery, it’s essential to follow Dr. Park’s instructions on what you can put in your mouth. For example, you should focus on staying hydrated and consuming cold liquids or soft foods for at least the first day or two, but it could be longer.

Types of foods you can often eat after oral surgery include:

You should also avoid straws, smoking, alcohol, and anything chewy or crunchy during recovery. Depending on your procedure, Dr. Park can tell you when you can safely add warm, soft foods — such as broths, soups, and mashed potatoes — to your diet. 

Dr. Park can also outline how to safely clean your mouth after your procedure. In many cases, this involves rinsing with a saline or saltwater solution instead of brushing your teeth.

If you need oral surgery, Dr. Park can guide you through the entire procedure and recovery process, so you can know exactly what to expect. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.

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