Several Ways to Prepare Yourself to Cope
Many people fear to go to the dentist for oral surgery because they know that they may feel uncomfortable afterward. While some discomfort will occur after any type of surgery, there are some steps you can take to reduce the pain and discomfort. This will help you to stay more comfortable when you are back at home.
About Oral Surgery
There are many types of oral surgery, so the type you receive may differ from what someone else experiences. Whether it is a wisdom tooth extraction, a tooth implant, oral maxillofacial surgery, or some other type of dental surgery, there will be some discomfort afterward.
In order to help relieve immediate pain, the dentist will usually give you some pain pills to use once the numbing medication wears off. With some types of anesthesia, you may need someone else to drive you home. With other types, such as nitrous oxide, you could probably drive yourself home.
After your oral surgery, the dentist will provide you with some detailed instructions that you need to follow for best results. Following them carefully will help you be more comfortable afterward.
After oral surgery, particularly after a wisdom teeth removal or another tooth, the clot in the empty socket does not heal correctly. This can happen if the clot becomes dislodged. If it does occur, it will often be a painful experience until it does heal correctly.
Preventing a dry socket means avoiding drinking through a straw and eating food that might disturb the clot. Smoking and drinking alcohol should also be avoided for at least 10 days. A dry socket is more likely to occur in women, in smokers, and in people who are using oral contraceptives.
Before the surgery, the dentist will likely advise you to stop taking any vitamins or supplements about two weeks prior to the surgery. You may also be advised to take vitamin C because it will help with pain and healing.
If you had a wisdom tooth extraction, or a molar, you will likely be told to bite down on a piece of gauze. You will need to keep this in place for at least 30 minutes before replacing it with new gauze. If it continues to bleed, moisten a new piece of gauze a little and keep on replacing it about every 30 minutes. The bleeding may occur for as long as 24 hours.
If the bleeding continues to be rather heavy after some time, you can moisten a tea bag and put it on the site. Tea has chemicals in it that will help to constrict the blood vessels to help the bleeding stop.
Stick to a Liquid Diet
After the surgery, it is important that you continue to get a good amount of nutrition. The right kind of food will help keep inflammation down and will also aid in healing. During the healing process, you will be instructed to stick to drinking liquids and soft foods. You can eat soft foods such as pudding, blended soups or broth, mashed potatoes, applesauce, ice cream, smoothies, cottage cheese, and salmon.
You also want to avoid some foods. This list includes hot (eat cold or lukewarm foods) and spicy foods, foods with seeds in them, foods that are crunchy – such as potato chips, cookies, etc., and foods that are chewy.
Get Some Rest
Once you are at home, you should plan on resting and taking it easy. In some cases, the dentist or oral surgeon may want someone else to stay with you for a few hours after you go home.
Use Ice Packs
You may have some swelling in your cheeks and jaw. Place ice packs that are wrapped in a towel on the area that is swelling. As the swelling goes down, it will also help to relieve pain. In order to avoid damaging your skin, do not leave the ice packs on for more than 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes off. Then repeat until the swelling goes down and you are more comfortable.
Rinse Your Mouth with Saltwater
You may be directed not to brush your teeth for a day or two. If so, the dentist may provide you with an oral mouthwash. Keeping your mouth clean is important in order to prevent infection. You may also use a saltwater mixture to rinse with, just add 1/4 teaspoon to an 8-ouce glass of water. You should also brush and floss other areas (unless the dentist directs otherwise) of your mouth, but be careful not to disturb the clot.
Keep Your Head Elevated
Staying elevated for about three days while you sleep is important because you will have more blood in the area when you lay flat, causing the wound site to throb. It will also help to reduce swelling.
One more step in being more comfortable after oral surgery is to get a dentist who is very experienced in the type of dental surgery you need. A periodontist has had years more training and experience than a regular dentist. They are experts in oral surgery. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, can provide you with the oral surgery you need. He offers a wide range of dental services for all ages and accepts most dental health plans. His dental offices are located in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.