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Before your dental surgery, it’s important to get ready. Ask your dentist about what you can expect and make sure you have everything you need. You’ll want to rest as much as possible, eat soft foods and avoid chewing hard foods so they don’t irritate the area around the surgical site. This will help decrease pain and swelling. Eat a light snack before surgery to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Your surgeon will also instruct you on when it’s okay to sip liquids, brush your teeth and rinse with salt water or sugary drinks. It’s common for patients to experience discomfort after dental surgery, but it shouldn’t last long. For some tips on how to manage oral discomfort, click here
If you’re able to walk around, you’ll likely feel more in control and maintain your energy levels. Certain types of exercise may cause discomfort in areas like your lips, cheeks or jawline and can make the pain worse. But in a safe, controlled environment, you may be able to perform low-impact exercises like swimming, bicycling or walking. Some activities, like chewing gum, may cause too much pressure and shouldn’t be done. While you’re recovering, avoid strenuous activities, like lifting heavy objects or running, until your mouth heals. While you may feel better if you exercise, be careful if you do go to the gym or participate in other sports or other activities. If the pain from your surgery is too intense, you may want to ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to continue. You may also want to see a physical therapist to help strengthen your jaw muscles.
Eat healthy, solid meals
While you may try to eat healthy when you’re feeling better, it’s especially important to maintain your nutrition when you have dental surgery. Make sure your diet consists of healthy, protein-rich foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts. Avoid sugary and fatty foods, dairy products and anything with caffeine because they can increase your blood sugar levels and lead to inflammation. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol as they can increase your blood pressure and cause you to dehydrate. You may also want to ask your dentist if it’s okay to drink a little bit of salt water. Salt water can help diminish inflammation around the surgical site and clean your teeth. Make sure you aren’t eating more than once or twice a day, as this may increase your sugar levels and cause you to dehydrate.
Measurement and marking of teeth
Your dentist will measure your gums, cheeks, lips and jaw as well as mark your teeth. Your teeth may feel differently after surgery, so it’s important to know where they feel best. You may also notice that your bite feels different than it did before the surgery. It’s important to know this information so you can make adjustments in your diet or activity levels. It’s normal to experience some swelling, but if it’s noticeable, it may be painful or cause you discomfort. Your dentist may recommend taking a few days off from work or other activities if this is the case.
Oral hygiene before surgery
Before your surgery, you’ll want to make sure you’re brushing and flossing regularly to remove plaque and bacteria from around your teeth and gums. You’ll also want to use mouthwash to rinse after eating and drinking. If you don’t have any complaints from the dentist or dental assistant about your mouth, you can continue to brush and floss after surgery. If your diet is high in starches or sugars, it’s important to rinse with a salt water rinse or drink a sugary drink after eating. Too much sugar in your mouth can lead to inflammation, which can delay healing. Before your surgery, try to avoid sleeping in your mouth, chewing gum, smoking and drinking alcohol. These activities can cause you to inhale excess saliva, which can lead to sores, infections and inflamed gum tissue. It’s also important to wear a mouth guard while sleeping to protect your gums, teeth and jaw from injury.
What to expect after dental surgery
Pain after dental surgery can be from a variety of factors, such as an infection or a damaged packing or surgical site. If your pain is from the site, your dentist may give you an oral prescribed for the pain. If you experience significant pain, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders. It’s normal to have some discomfort after dental surgery, especially if you have more advanced gum disease. You can help this by taking pain medications, resting as much as possible, drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthy. If your discomfort comes from an infection, or from damaged oral tissue, it may take longer for your mouth to heal. When you return to work or other activities, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders for activity and rest.
As you prepare for dental surgery, be mindful of your diet and oral hygiene. You’ll also want to make sure to take regular rest breaks, eat small, frequent meals and drink lots of fluids. This will help you stay healthy, comfortable and productive after your surgery. If you have any questions, or want to know more about the best ways to prepare for dental surgery, talk to your dentist.