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Oral Surgery Do’s and Don’ts for a Smooth Recovery

If you’re worried about your oral surgery, take a deep breath and try to relax. You have nothing to worry about, as long as you follow your pre- and post-procedure instructions.

Whether you’re coming in for wisdom tooth extraction, corrective jaw surgery, dental implants or another surgical procedure, you can rest assured that we will give you detailed instructions for a smooth and speedy recovery, and answer all your questions before you go home.

oral surgery recovery

Meanwhile, we’ve put together a list of the basic “Do’s and Don’ts” for your oral surgery recovery.

After Oral Surgery, DO …

  • Take it easy. Relax and keep your head propped up with pillows for at least the first 24 hours.
  • Take any prescribed antibiotics and pain medications.
  • Use ice packs for 48 hours. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes, on and off, alternating face sides. On the third day, switch to warm packs.
  • Stick to a liquid or soft-food diet for a day or two.
  • Keep your mouth clean. After the first 24 hours, gently rinse with warm, salted water several times every day. Brush your teeth gently, but steer clear of the surgical site until it has healed.
  • Follow any other aftercare instructions provided.

After Oral Surgery, DON’T …

  • Eat or drink anything hot until your numbness wears off.
  • Overexert yourself. Avoid bending, heavy lifting and exercise for at least three days.
  • Smoke or drink alcohol. Avoid these products for as long as possible.
  • Drink from a straw or spit until the surgical site has healed.
  • Eat hard or crunchy foods for at least a few days.

How Long Does Oral Surgery Recovery Take?

The recovery time for any type of surgery depends on the procedure’s complexity and the patient’s health. In general, the more complicated your oral surgery, the longer it will take you to fully recover.

Simple procedures like tooth extractions and bone grafts heal the fastest. Most patients can return to their normal activities within a day or two. For wisdom tooth extraction or removal of impacted teeth, however, recovery can take up to a week.

Patients who get dental implants or who undergo surgery for jaw misalignment, congenital defects, sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can expect a longer recovery period. With these types of procedures, complete healing can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. You’ll usually be able to return to work or school and most of your regular activities within a few days, however, as long as you follow your instructions carefully.

Mild pain, swelling and discomfort can be expected after any surgical procedure. If you follow your aftercare instructions, you should heal quickly. However, never ignore any post-surgical concerns. If you’re worried about how your mouth is healing, if you experience any unusual or significant pain, or if you think you may have an infection or other complication, contact our office immediately.

The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, is committed to providing positive surgical experiences. Our experienced, compassionate surgeons and treatment team take every precaution to set the stage for a smooth recovery. For more information, or to schedule an oral surgery consultation, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.


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