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Oral surgery is becoming more and more prevalent as we face an increasing number of people that wish to improve the look and function of their smile. When we think about oral surgery, many of us may have reservations when it comes to scheduling procedures, for we don’t know what to expect before, during, and after surgery. This information is intended to give you an overview of the oral surgery process, as well as what you can expect to experience as you recover. Get ready for a healthier, more beautiful smile as you overcome your fears and schedule your appointment!

What is oral surgery?

Oral surgery refers to any type of procedure that involves your teeth, mouth, or jaw. They are most often performed by trained oral care specialists who are prepared to handle pre and post-surgical care, as well as the procedure itself. Types of oral surgeries include:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Gum or bone grafts
  • Tooth implants
  • Maxillofacial surgeries
  • Root canals
  • Jaw and tooth repair after accidents

Preparing for oral surgery

When preparing for surgery, it is important to follow all care directions given to you by your dentist. In addition, you might want to consider preparing a space for yourself at home that is clean and comfortable; one that you can relax in. If necessary, arrange for transportation to and from your surgery, and take care to follow any pre-surgical and post-surgical directions that your dentist recommends. You might even want to modify your sleeping area as well, arranging things so that you can sleep at an incline. Doing what you can to reduce or eliminate obstacles to healing will be important as you return home and slowly resume your normal activities.

What can I expect after surgery?

People experience a variety of different symptoms after surgery—knowing what to expect is key to recovering with less stress. It is expected that your mouth and jaw will be a little sore in the days following surgery. Look for these signs and symptoms that your mouth is on the mend, and be on the lookout for any unusual pain, drainage, or swelling that is getting worse over time. Here is what you can expect after surgery:

The first 24 hours

Incisions from your surgical procedure will be at their most tender in the first 24 hours after surgery. Take care to avoid aggravating your surgical sites, and do what you can to refrain from sucking or spitting, which can tear open stitches that are holding tissues in place. Take pain medications as prescribed, and call your doctor if you experience adverse side effects, nausea, vomiting, or fever. These could be signs that infection has set in, and you’ll need to proactively manage it to continue healing properly.

The first week after surgery

In the days and weeks following surgery, you’ll likely resume a normal diet, but in the beginning of your healing process, it will be essential that you adhere to a diet of liquids, mild, and soft foods. Avoid anything spicy, overly acidic, and foods that have a heavy texture, as they can compromise your surgical sites. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of fresh, clean water, and continue to take pain medications as prescribed. You may start resuming your normal oral care habits, although you may want to brush a bit more gingerly and refrain from flossing until you get a little farther into the healing process.

Commonly experienced symptoms while healing

Depending on the type of surgery you have undergone, it is common to experience pain, swelling and, at times, blood mixed with your saliva. Know that this is a normal part of the healing process, and that these symptoms will subside in time. Manage swelling with ice, and monitor any blood in your saliva for signs that it is decreasing in volume. If you notice that there is unusual drainage, a great deal of pain and discomfort, or a bad smell coming from your mouth, call your dentist/surgeon immediately to discuss treatment options.

A healthier mouth is in your future!

There is no need to put off oral surgery any longer; at Arizona Dental Specialists, our qualified and caring staff can help you restore the look and function of your smile. Make your appointment today; visit for more information.

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