Before and After: Reduce Complications from Oral Surgery

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Steps you take before and after oral surgery will help ensure a smooth recovery free of complications. The list may seem long, but is well worth adhering to for a trouble-free surgery and recovery:

Weeks Before Your Oral Surgery

  1. Share health conditions. Talk with the surgery staff about any health conditions under treatment. Give them a list of the drugs you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  2. Talk about anxiety. If you are concerned about anything, particularly the anesthesia, share your concerns. If you are worried about the safety of the anesthesia, ask for more information, or if an alternative can be used.
  3. Talk to your insurance company. You don’t want a surprise from billing after the procedure. Make sure you understand what will be covered. You can ask the surgeon’s staff for the ICD-10 description to confirm coverage.

Days Before

  1. Make transportation, childcare, food and clothing plans. Pick out something short-sleeved, and comfortable to wear. Arrange for how you are going to get to surgery, and who is going to bring you home. Make childcare arrangements, and purchase foods you are going to be eating after surgery: soft, bland things like oatmeal, protein drinks, soups, applesauce, etc.
  2. Make plans to not drive for 48 hours after surgery. See if a friend or family member would be willing to do errands for you as needed after surgery.
  3. Make plans to rest. Inform your workplace that you will need 3 days off counting the day of surgery. Tell people with whom you exercise or engage in other physical activities that you will need a short break.
  4. Ask someone to stay overnight if you live alone. Depending on the procedure, you may want a companion for the first 12 hours.
  5. Stop smoking. Don’t smoke for 12 hours before the procedure. *And, now is a good time to finally quit!!
  6. Cancel if you are sick. If you have the flu, postpone surgery. If you have a cold, consider canceling, as it will make the surgery more difficult if you are sneezing, coughing, or have a runny nose. Contact your oral surgeon to discuss how to best proceed.
  7. Stop eating and drinking. For general anesthesia, stop eating and drinking 6 hours before the surgery.

Day of Surgery

  1. Take your allergy meds. If your allergies are flaring up, take an oral antihistamine and inform the surgery team that you have done so.
  2. Stop eating and drinking if you haven’t already. For a local anesthesia, you may eat a light meal 1-2 hours before.
  3. Brush and floss. Arrive with your teeth clean to avoid getting any food in your wound site.
  4. Dress without jewelry, contact lenses, makeup or perfume. Also, tie back your hair if it is long or may fall in your face.

After Surgery

  1. Refrain from tobacco for 24 hours. Smoking in any form delays healing, and smokeless tobacco can get in the wound site, causing infections. And again, how bout taking this opportunity to kick the habit fully.
  2. Follow instructions to stop bleeding. Keep your head elevated according to your post-op instruction. Use the gauze provided to bite down firmly on the wound site for 1 hour. Remove the gauze gently, adding water if it seems stuck. If the bleeding does not stop within an hour, call the surgery office.
  3. Follow oral hygiene instructions. Avoid vigorous rinsing and spitting for a few days. Brush gently and floss when it feels comfortable to do so. Make a solution of 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup of warm water and rinse gently several times a day for the first few days.
  4. Take your meds. Use pain medications as indicated, and consult your surgery team before you take any other OTC medications.
  5. Applying an ice pack to your face for the first 24 hours (on 15 minutes, off 15 minutes) can help reduce the pain and swelling.
  6. Be patient. You may have some bruising after the surgery, or facial stiffness. It may be 7-10 days before you feel back to normal.
  7. The more you take it easy the first few days, the quicker you will heal.

When they follow these instructions, most of our patients recovery quickly without complications. If you have any concerns, call the office and we will address them promptly.

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