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Tips for Caring for Someone After Oral Surgery: What to Expect

If someone you love has oral surgery, they will require some at-home care in the days following the procedure. If you are helping care for someone after oral surgery, you should know what to expect and how to care for them. We’ve put together some tips to ensure your loved one is safe, comfortable, and cared for properly.

Encourage Plenty of Rest

Most patients need at least two days of rest, sometimes more, without physical exertion. The more invasive the surgery, the longer the patient needs to take it easy. If their pain is extreme, proper rest becomes even more important. Encourage them to take naps, relax on the sofa, and avoid any activities that are not necessary.

You can help keep your patient comfortable by making sure they are stocked with activities and distractions that can be easily reached and used. Keep magazines, books, gaming consoles, iPad, their phone, and remote controls close by to relieve boredom as they recover. A fluffy blanket and stack of pillows ensure comfortable rest and keep the head elevated to minimize pain and swelling.

Understand the Post-Operative Instructions and Follow Them

We provide detailed post-operative care instructions to our patients. Review these with your loved one and emphasize their importance. If they are advised to rinse with salt water, mix the solution and remind the patient to rinse periodically throughout the day. Any prescriptions, including antibiotics, should be taken as directed. Confirm that the patient is taking their medications and encourage drinking plenty of fluids.

Keep an Eye on Bleeding

It is usual for the surgical site to bleed for the first few days. Have a stack of gauze pads available so the patient can bite down on them to slow bleeding. If there is still substantial bleeding after 24-36 hours, contact our office for guidance.

A blood clot forms over the site after oral surgery to protect the site and prevent complications such as a dry socket. Do not allow the patient to smoke, drink using a straw, or suck on hard candies to avoid dislodging the blood clot. The suction may dislodge the blood clot and require a follow-up appointment at our office.

 Create a Healthy, Soft Diet

Patients must eat a liquid or soft diet following oral surgery to allow the area to heal properly and prevent pain or infection. Be prepared in advance with nutritional supplement drinks such as Boost or Ensure, and stock the fridge with tasty, nourishing soft foods such as mashed potatoes, hummus, pudding, refried beans, yogurt, applesauce, and broth. There are websites with many delicious soft food recipes you can find online. Eating a soft diet that isn’t boring or repetitive can help patients stay on track and reduce the temptation to eat foods they shouldn’t, such as chips and chewy foods.

Monitor the Patient’s Pain & Swelling

While some patients can control their pain with over-the-counter pain relievers, others are given a prescription-strength, non-opioid pain medication, or opioid pain medications. The patient should take pain relievers as directed rather than wait for the pain to become severe.

Watch your loved one’s face for the first few days. Some bruising and swelling are expected for the first 2-3 days. After day three to four, both should begin to subside. Encourage using ice packs for the first 24-48 hours to reduce pain and swelling. Thirty minutes of ice, followed by 15 minutes without ice, is effective.

Watch for Signs of Complications

If your loved one experiences any of the following symptoms while recovering from oral surgery, be sure to contact our office:

  • Fever
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Numbness beyond the first 24 hours
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pus around the surgical site
  • Pain that increases after the third day
  • Increased swelling after the third day

As your friend’s advocate and caregiver, focus on protecting their health, keeping them comfortable, and being aware of any changes in their condition. When in doubt, please contact our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Office Phone Number 907-278-5678. We are always happy to answer your questions.

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Alaska Oral Surgery Group Office Phone Number 907-278-5678 Appointments


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