Dental Care

What You Need to Know About Oral Surgery

For many individuals, oral surgery can be very stressful. According to the official website of the American Dental Association, stress can have a negative effect on the overall success of the surgical procedure. The good thing is that you can easily manage your anxiety about oral surgery by increasing your knowledge of this particular procedure. Here are some of the things you need to know about oral surgery.

Preparing for the Surgery

The week before the oral surgery is typically tense. By this time, you should already have your mind set on the procedure. You should already have talked with your dentist on a lot of things about your surgery, your expectations, and what you need to do right after. There are two very important points that you should never miss though.

Transportation arrangements

Depending on the type of oral surgery that will be performed on you, you may have to be given a sedative or an anesthetic agent so that you will not feel the pain during the surgical procedure. The downside to having anesthetics and/or sedatives is that you will still feel a bit drowsy after the procedure. More often than not, you will not be able to drive your way back home. It is thus, important that you make the necessary arrangements for your transportation. Ideally, it is a lot better to have someone drive you to the clinic and later bring you back home. The stress of having to drive through traffic can add to the anxiety.


Your dentist might order fasting for about 8 to 12 hours prior to the commencement of the oral surgery. For instance, if you were scheduled to be operated on at about 8 in the morning, then your last oral intake – be it food or water – should be 12 midnight or perhaps even 8 in the evening before the surgery. Now, if you are on maintenance medications, you are allowed to take these the night before your surgery or even first thing in the morning of your oral surgery. Your dentist will tell you exactly when you need to cease taking anything by mouth.

Promoting Healing after Surgery

Once the surgical procedure has been completed your focus now shifts to promote optimum healing. Like what we have already said above, you should have already discussed this with your dentist even before you were prepped for the procedure.

Recovery times

Swelling as a result of the surgical procedure typically subsides with the first 48 hours. As such, it is very important that you lie in bed as much as possible. Also, avoid doing any heavy lifting or even strenuous exercises as this can lead to bleeding and force open the surgical incision. Common oral surgeries like the extraction of wisdom tooth usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks for complete healing. However, if the surgery involved the jaw, healing can take anywhere from a month to several months.

Post-op care

Make sure that you are in a comfortable position when lying in bed after the surgery. Since you will be limiting your movement, make sure that all you need are within reach of your bed. You are also not allowed to smoke or even chew bubble gum. For the swelling, you can apply cold compress or even an ice pack over it for about 15 minutes. Remove the ice application and put it back on after another 15 minutes. You can also start rinsing your mouth with saline solution 4 times a day 24 hours after oral surgery. If your dentist gave you antibiotics or any other medication, make sure to take these as prescribed.


Soups, yogurts, and other soft foods should be your diet for the first 48 hours after surgery. Soft foods that are rich in Vitamin C and/or A are highly recommended. Avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy for the next 6 to 8 weeks. Within the first 24 hours after surgery, you are also not supposed to eat or drink foods that are hot. Alcohol or drinking from a straw should also be avoided within the first 24 hours.

Knowing what you should do before and after oral surgery can greatly reduce your anxiety. This can help you go through the procedure without incident.