Recovering from Surgery

Recovery is an important part of any surgery.

It is important to understand what you need to do after surgery to promote healing and have a safe and comfortable recovery. Your recovery time depends on several different factors, including the type of operation you’ve had and the severity of your condition. Our providers and staff are here to help you recover quickly and get back to your work and daily activities.

patient receiving post-op instructions

In the Event of an Emergency

Our surgeons are on call every day with our practice and at Mission Hospital.  During office hours, if you have questions, pain or problems resulting from a surgery, there is a clinical assistant in the building who will assist you with your problem. After hours, call our office at 828-255-7781.

Contact your surgeon if you experience:

  • Fever greater than 101.5 °F
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive swelling
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Have unusual pain develop

Call the 24-hour emergency line at (828) 255-7781.

Recovering from Oral Surgery

Post Surgical Instructions for Most Procedures

Here are typical post-surgical instructions for most routine oral surgical procedures. The information provided here does not replace the advice of your doctor about your specific case. Always follow the recommendations of your surgeon.

Oral Wound Care

  • Facial swelling is expected. Swelling will increase the first few days after surgery then gradually decline. Elevate your head with pillows while sleeping to reduce swelling.
  • A minor amount of drainage from the surgical site is typical during the first 24 hours.
  • No spitting, sucking, or using a straw to avoid disturbing your wounds. Avoid chewing food near your surgery sites.
  • Do not use tobacco products while your surgical site is healing. For help with quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to speak with a trained quit coach who can provide help over the phone.

Oral Hygiene

  • Keep your mouth as clean as possible to ensure proper healing and avoid infection
  • Brush your teeth daily when waking up, after meals, and before going to sleep. Avoid brushing directly on the surgical sites until they are healed.
  • Rinse gently with warm salt water starting 24 hours after surgery to keep your wounds clean. Salt water is made by placing a teaspoon of table salt in one cup of warm (NOT HOT) water.
  • Do not use mouthwash unless prescribed by your surgeon. Do not rinse with hydrogen peroxide.

Diet

  • Maintain a soft diet after surgery. Advance to firmer foods as you feel able after surgery. Avoid foods with sharp edges such as chips, pretzels, or popcorn kernels.
  • Try to eat high-protein, high-calorie foods to aid healing. Avoid foods that are spicy or hot as they may irritate your healing wounds.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid carbonated or alcoholic beverages. Avoid excessive caffeine.

Exercise

  • Engaging in moderate physical activity can help speed your recovery. Most people can complete light housework or walk around the neighborhood. Cough and breathe deeply to help clear your lungs after sedation. Rest when you feel tired.
  • Avoid any strenuous physical activities or contact sports where your jaws may be bumped or injured. Do not lift anything over 20 pounds for 3-5 days after your procedure.

Pain management

  • Pain after surgery is expected. Controlling your pain is important to help you stay comfortable, keep your surgical wounds clean, and to help you return to normal function.
  • Your surgeon will make every effort to help manage your pain safely. Discuss with your surgeon if you take pain medications on a regular basis or if you cannot tolerate a particular medication. If you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, please talk with your surgeon. We will try to decrease your risk of opioid dependency or addiction by minimizing your exposure.
  • Different kinds of medications are often prescribed together to manage your pain. Pain medications can work together to provide a superior level of pain control than each medication taken alone.

Socket Irrigation after Wisdom Teeth Removal

  • Food debris will often accumulate in lower wisdom teeth extraction sites. This can lead to irritation and infection. A Monoject irrigation syringe will be provided at your one week follow up appointment to help flush debris from the wounds.
  • To irrigate your extraction sockets:
    • Fill the Monoject irrigation syringe with warm salt water.
    • Slide the tip of the irrigation syringe down along the back of the last molar until the syringe tip drops into the extraction socket (See picture).
    • Gently flush the wound free of food debris. The site should be flushed until no food particles remain.
    • Irrigate surgical wounds after meals and when brushing your teeth until sites have closed.
Recovering from Surgery