After having oral surgery, some facial swelling is common. In fact, it’s a natural part of the healing process.
Fortunately, if you follow your aftercare instructions, you shouldn’t have to endure chipmunk cheeks or swollen gums for long. For the best chance at a quick recovery, try these tips to reduce facial swelling after oral surgery.
No. 1: Apply Ice and Heat at the Right Times
Ice and heat can help to decrease facial swelling, but they must be applied according to a specific timetable.
For the first 48 hours after your procedure, use an ice pack — 20 to 30 minutes on one side of the face, then remove or switch to the other side of the face for the next 20 to 30 minutes.
After 48 hours, swap out the ice for a warm compress or hot water bottle on the same schedule.
No. 2: Keep Your Head Elevated
Keeping your head above your heart can aid in proper blood flow and help minimize facial swelling.
When recovering from oral surgery, don’t lie flat. During the day, sit or recline. At bedtime or when resting, use an extra pillow (or two) to elevate your head.
No. 3: Limit Your Activity after Oral Surgery
During the recovery period, your immune system will be working hard to heal the injured area. This requires energy, and any exertion on your part can slow the healing process.
To help the swelling go down faster, limit your physical activity for the first few days after your surgical procedure.
No. 4: Stay Hydrated
Hydration is essential for proper healing. Without enough fluids, the facial tissues won’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need for a fast recovery.
After your procedure, plan to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If facial swelling makes drinking difficult, try sucking on ice chips. Don’t use a straw until the surgical site has healed, however, or you risk dislodging the blood clots and causing dry socket.
No. 5: Don’t Smoke
Several of the substances in tobacco smoke — including nicotine, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide — have been shown to impair the healing process and prolong swelling. Smoking also increases the risk of infection after surgery, and the act of drawing on a cigarette can knock the blood clots loose.
If you can, quit smoking before your surgery. If you can’t, try to refrain from smoking for as long as possible after the procedure.
If you’re worried about your oral surgery recovery, you can rest easy. The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can address all your concerns and offer expert advice for reducing facial swelling and discomfort after the procedure.
To learn more, or to schedule an oral surgery consultation, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.