Nervous Patients? Here are Six Simple Tips for Successful Post-Surgery Recovery

Dentists, you probably know firsthand the anxiety that patients often feel about any type of oral surgical procedure. Not to worry. Patients who follow their doctor’s orders after their wisdom teeth, dental implant, or other oral surgery are likely to have a positive, trouble-free experience. In fact, patients often don’t realize that…

  • Most oral surgeries are simple and take less than 90 minutes.
  • Most patients recover quickly and without excessive pain or infection.
  • Even complicated surgical procedures typically have great results, with patients healing relatively quickly.

As your patients prepare to have a tooth removed or an implant placed, remind them of these six ways that they can make their recovery a smooth one:

Tip #1: Protect the surgical area. After wisdom or other teeth are extracted, your patient should bite down on gauze packs for the first few hours after surgery to control bleeding. It’s important to protect the blood clot that forms by avoiding vigorous swishing/rinsing.

Tip #2: Get plenty of rest. For at least the first few days after surgery, your patient should avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity, as being too active can increase bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.

Tip #3: Eat, drink, and do the right things! Your patient should avoid smoking during the healing stage, as it can increase the chances of dry socket and interfere with the healing process. Alcohol should be avoided for at least 24 hours post surgery, and extremely hot foods, crunchy foods (such as carrots or popcorn), or food that could become lodged in the surgical site (such as seeds) should be avoided for several weeks. After surgery, patients can adjust the diet by sticking to liquid and soft foods (soups, smoothies or shakes, for example), but we encourage patients to resume a normal diet as soon as they are able. Foods rich with vitamin C (or a supplement) can also help speed up recovery.

Tip #4: Apply ice as needed. Swelling after dental implants or wisdom teeth surgery is very normal, and your patient can minimize it and control the pain with ice packs or a bag of frozen fruit or vegetables.

Tip #5: Take medication to manage the pain. It sounds obvious, but too many patients forget the importance of taking prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. Also, its important to control post-operative pain proactively. Take prescribed or OTC pain medication BEFORE the local anesthesia wears off, so pain is well controlled throughout recovery.

Tip #6: Maintain good oral hygiene. Patients should keep their mouths clean to avoid infections and other issues. Brushing and rinsing is typically recommended after 24 hours following surgery.

Remember that recovering from oral surgery takes time and everyone recovers at a different pace. The good news is that most patients recovery quickly and normally. If your patient follows these and the additional post-surgery instructions we provide, we’re certain they’ll do just great.

At Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we know that patients often have fears about surgery, so if your patient is contemplating wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, or another surgical procedure and has questions, refer them to us. We have three convenient office locations in Hackensack (201.343.8297), Westwood (201.664.5656), and Ridgewood (201.444.4137). Our doctors will be happy to answer your and your patient’s questions about the process.