Two Major “Don’ts” of Oral Surgery Recovery

To ensure that your oral surgery recovery is smooth and complication-free, following your aftercare instructions is essential.

Patients usually don’t question the need for proper oral hygiene after their procedure. Likewise, they don’t typically balk at eating a soft-food diet or avoiding strenuous exercise for a short time.

oral surgery recovery

Smoking and drinking alcohol, however, can be a matter of discussion. Many patients wonder why these activities are discouraged after surgery, and how these behaviors can undermine a successful recovery.

Why Alcohol Consumption After Oral Surgery Is Detrimental

Although you may feel like you deserve a stiff drink or a nice cold beer after your procedure, indulging in a cocktail after oral surgery is not wise.

Studies have shown that drinking inhibits the recovery process. Alcohol can significantly hinder the growth of new blood vessels, an integral part of healing. Connective tissue restoration and collagen production may also be slowed as a result of alcohol consumption.

In other words, drinking can extend your surgical recovery period. But, that’s not the only reason to stay sober. Alcohol exposure can also increase the chance that you’ll get an infection.

Why You Shouldn’t Smoke After Oral Surgery

If you’re a smoker, you may crave a cigarette as soon as you leave the oral surgeon’s office. While the urge is understandable, lighting up is a bad idea.

Just like drinking alcohol, smoking can impede your oral surgery recovery. Tobacco smoke has been shown to impair white cell migration, which is critical to the healing process. And as with alcohol, smoking increases the risk of infection.

Inhaling on a cigarette, much like sucking on a drinking straw, can dislodge blood clots from the surgical site, leaving bone and nerves exposed. As a result, you can develop a painful condition called dry socket.

Don’t be tempted to reach for smokeless or chewing tobacco after your procedure, either. Using these products can cause pain and discomfort, as the tobacco pieces can enter and aggravate the surgery site.

How Long Does the Oral Surgery Recovery Period Last?

So how long will you need to avoid alcohol and tobacco?

The recovery time for oral and maxillofacial surgery depends on a variety of factors, including the type of procedure you undergo and the state of your health. Your oral surgeon will give you an estimate, typically ranging from a few days to several weeks.

If you can refrain from drinking or smoking as long as possible after your procedure, the healing process will be shorter and you’ll be less likely to suffer painful or dangerous complications.

The experienced oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can address all of your concerns about the healing process and aftercare. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to learn more how to improve the outcomes of your oral surgery recovery.