Oral surgery recovery timeline: Foods that promote healing after oral surgery

foods for oral surgery

Depending on the type of intervention, the typical time for significant recovery of the patient following an oral surgical procedure might range between 7 and 15 days. During this time, your oral surgeon will focus your care towards minimizing the risk of infections and easing the symptoms. And proper nutrition is naturally a vital part of your recovery. 

Oral surgery recovery timeline FAQs

Is oral surgery painful?

Many oral surgery operations, including dental implants, grafting, and wisdom tooth extractions have become straightforward and largely painless due to advancements in dentistry. However, the surgical site is normally painful for a few days after the procedure, which can be easily alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers. That said, avoid taking aspirin right after surgery because it thins the blood and can cause bleeding in the mouth.

Swelling after oral surgery: how long should it last?

Swelling is common following oral surgery. It can rise for two to three days before starting to fall. Avoid moving for 8-12 hours after surgery to help minimize edema. To help reduce swelling, put cold packs or ice to the side of your face over the operation site, leaving it on for 15 minutes before removing it. You can do this as much as you like for the remainder of the day, though it won’t be as effective after 24 hours.

Why am I bleeding after oral surgery?

Also keep in mind that some bleeding or seeping may occur for the first 12–24 hours after surgery. For at least one hour following surgery, bite on the sponge that was supplied to you. If you’re bleeding profusely, cover the bleeding area with clean, damp gauze and press firmly for 20 minutes to ensure no blood escapes. If required, repeat the process.

After oral surgery: signs of infection

As discussed above, it’s normal to experience some bleeding, swelling, and numbness after your oral procedure. However, even these symptoms should be easily manageable without causing much pain or inconvenience. Generally, anything unusual could be an indicator of an infection. If you encounter any of these symptoms after your surgical procedure, you should contact your oral surgeon or dentist as soon as possible:

  • Bleeding for more than 24 hours
  • Unusual swelling of the gums, jaw, or face
  • Pus or other discharge oozing from the site
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Throbbing pain that does not go away with medication
  • Persistent low-grade fever that seems to be increasing

What to do after oral surgery for faster recovery and avoid infections

Here are a few more things you may do to speed up your recovery after oral surgery.

  • Stick to the dentist/instructions surgeon’s – If you’ve been prescribed a pain reliever or other medication to take after the treatment, make sure you take it at the suggested times and intervals. This is crucial for pain management and infection prevention.
  • Get enough rest – Getting enough rest helps you recover faster. After a procedure, it is recommended that you do nothing for the rest of the day. You may be able to resume light tasks the next day, depending on the type of surgery you had.
  • Only drink liquids and eat soft meals for the first two days after surgery. Yogurt, eggs, cheese, cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, smooth soups, desserts, protein shakes, fried beans, and fruit smoothies are all acceptable options.
  • For the rest of the week, stick to soft foods that don’t require much chewing – rice, macaroni, noodles, etc. – and avoid hot, spicy, hard, crunchy, or acidic foods.

Avoid these things to achieve Faster Recovery after Oral Surgery

  • For the first 24 hours after the treatment, do not brush your teeth or rinse your mouth. After 24 hours, after meals, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Brush your teeth carefully as directed by your dentist or surgeon.
  • Don’t use straws for at least 48 hours.
  • Avoid blowing your nose. Instead, wipe it and sneeze for at least 48 hours with your mouth open.
  • Do not consume alcohol or smoke for 48 hours.

Keeping your nutrition up: How long after oral surgery can I eat?

It’s recommended that you avoid chewing from the side and site of the oral surgery for about two weeks after the procedure to avoid any injuries that might delay the recovery process.

  • Following wisdom tooth extraction: By eating away from the surgery location, you can consume anything soft.
  • Drink plenty of water after dental implants and after an impacted tooth is exposed. Hot beverages and foods should be avoided. On the day before operation, soft foods and beverages should be consumed. Unless otherwise recommended, return to a normal diet as soon as practicable.
  • If your teeth are wired or rubber-banded together after major jaw surgery, you will need to maintain a liquid diet until the teeth are freed.

Generally, you can resume a somewhat regular diet after three days, though you should still avoid acidic, spicy, crunchy, sticky, and very hot foods until your gums and jawbone have healed completely. Juice, milk, water, or broth can be used to thin blended substances to the desired consistency. To avoid oral hygiene issues, strain the mixed beverage to eliminate particles and food fiber.

Following early healing, a more diversified diet will be recommended in addition to the liquid diet guidelines. To suit your taste, cooked portions of your favorite foods can be blended separately or in combination.

Foods That Promote Healing After Oral Surgery

A well-balanced diet is critical to a quick recovery after oral surgery. Observing proper nutrition will help to hasten healing, reduce discomfort, and create a sense of well-being. This means getting the right portions of proteins, fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, whether you’re on a liquid or soft diet.

Initially, the consistency of your diet will range from liquid to pureed to soft meals. You will be able to advance your diet as your wounds heal. Also choose smaller, more frequent meals that are more tolerable.

  • Adequate protein in your diet will help you recuperate faster. As a result, include protein in every meal, regardless of consistency. For instance, you could add protein powder or yogurt to a smoothie.
  • Avoid tomatoes, onion, pepper, and spices as they are all potential irritants
  • Avoid acidic fruit juices as they can also induce a burning feeling

Drink plenty of liquids

Because you may not be able to chew semi-solid or solid foods on the day of oral surgery due to soreness and swelling in your mouth, the goal is to drink 48 to 64 oz. (6-8 cups) of liquids per day. Your options should include:

  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Water
  • Caffeine-free liquids like tea and coffee
  • Tepid pureed soups
  • Gelatin
  • Smoothies

Soft grains and soups

As your mouth heals, eat a soft diet consisting of foods that are easy to chew or swallow. It could be chopped, ground, mashed, pureed, or moistened foods are easily tolerated. Consider:

  • Soups with soft vegetables or meat
  • Soft grains including oatmeal, rice, cream of rice, risotto, and cooked pasta

Well-cooked fruits and vegetables

You should be able to eat well-cooked fruits and vegetables like:

  • Ripe banana slices
  • Applesauce
  • Baked apples (without the skin)
  • Baked or boiled sweet potatoes or yams, spinach, beets, cooked carrot slices, and potatoes


Remember to include a protein source in everything you consume since it is crucial in the healing process. Some protein ideas include:

  • Protein powder, yogurt, or cottage cheese can all be used to blend protein into a soup
  • Tofu, stewed, diced, roasted, baked, or broiled lean beef, chicken, and soft fish like trout, whitefish, and salmon, as well as soft scrambled eggs, are tolerated on a soft food diet after oral surgery.
  • Consume dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese if lactose intolerant. Greek yogurt has a higher protein content than normal yogurt.

Healthy fats

To guarantee balanced meals, include healthy fats in your diet.

  • Avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, flax oil, and salmon are all good sources of healthful fats.

Foods to avoid

Avoid these foods during the first two weeks of surgery

  • Spicy meals
  • Difficult-to-chew items (steak, chicken, deli meats)
  • Popcorn, pretzels, potato chips, crusty bread, bagels, cookies,
  • Alcoholic beverages

Also avoid using a straw since the sucking movement can put too much strain on the newly formed blood clot, delaying your recovery. Keep track of how much sugar you take in liquid form on a daily basis. Healthy fats and protein help to balance the beverages.

Lastly, make sure to prepare ahead of time and have drinks and soft foods on hand following surgery.

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