In the event of any type of oral surgery, the quality of after care is as important to healing and comfort as is the quality of the surgical procedure itself. However minor or extensive the oral surgery procedure may be, knowing ahead of time and being prepared with several tips about oral surgery aftercare can make all the difference in the level of pain experienced and the speed of recuperation from the oral surgery.
In the hours immediately after oral surgery, the primary focus should be on cessation of bleeding, getting fluids and soft foods into the patient’s body(after fasting before the oral surgery) and effective pain management. Let’s address some specifics of each of these points within the primary focus of oral surgery’s immediate aftercare.
Cessation of bleeding-This particular point is of critical importance following the oral surgery procedure. The bleeding from the surgical site should clot within the first 30 minutes following the oral surgery. Granted, there will be seeping and periods of sporadic bleeding for several hours, but the initial bleeding should subside. This cessation of bleeding following most oral surgery is accomplished by the placement of gauze packing around the surgical site. The jaw should be closed gently and firmly, not clenched but closed firmly to apply pressure to the oral surgery site, thereby stemming the flow of blood following oral surgery. Replace the gauze packing as often as necessary. It is important that, following oral surgery, the patient does not drink from a straw or spit, therefore allowing the surgical site to stop bleeding and begin to heal. Any sucking or spitting motions can cause the oral surgery wound to reopen,causing damage and impeding the healing process.
Getting fluids and soft foods into the patient’s system-Most oral surgery patients will have fasted in the hours prior to the oral surgical procedure and therefore will understandably be weak from the lack of nourishment. It is important following oral surgery, that nourishment be fortified as soon as possible. Some ideas of the types of drinks and foods to have on hand in anticipation of the oral surgery and the aftercare to follow are juices, gatorade-type sport drinks, milk, soups of various flavors, a variety of puddings, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, ice cream, and the like. Immediately following the oral surgery, be aware that the patient’s mouth may still be numb for a period of time and have them take extra care when drinking and eating as to not damage the oral surgery site or bite their tongue or lips in their non-feeling state. Getting fluids and food into the patient’s system is important to the body’s health but is also of note when taking pain medications, as many medications should be taken with food or milk.
Effective pain management-Everybody who undergoes oral surgery wants the pain level to be as light as possible and this is best accomplished by the use of various pain medications and the application of cold compresses to the oral surgery site as well. If your oral surgeon prescribes pain medication, be sure to take it immediately following the procedure-or within a time frame the doctor’s office specifies, as sometimes pain medication may remain in the system from the oral surgery. For the first 12 hours following the oral surgery, it is ideal to keep pain medication in the patient’s system to allow for the most severe of the initial pain to pass and healing to begin. Most of the time, ibuprofen can be taken in 800 milligram amounts every 4 to 6 hours to combat the pain if the prescription medication is not an option the oral surgery patient wishes to pursue or when trying to not take something quite so strong. The doctor should always be consulted in the specific usage of any and all medications following oral surgery.
If oral surgery aftercare is prepared for and carefully planned and managed, the oral surgery recuperation will most likely, and hopefully, be relatively low in pain and on a fast track to healing.