Oral surgery recovery timeline

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 post-surgery aftercare 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

Oral surgery recovery timeline​

The recovery timeline for oral surgery can vary depending on the specific procedure performed and individual factors. 

However, here is a general overview of the oral surgery recovery process:

Immediately after surgery: 

You may experience some bleeding, swelling, and discomfort in the surgical area. The dental professional will provide instructions on managing these symptoms, such as using cold compresses and taking prescribed pain medication.

First few days

Swelling and discomfort are typically at their peak during the first few days after surgery. It’s important to rest, follow a soft or liquid diet, and avoid activities that could disrupt the healing process, such as smoking or using a straw.

First week

Swelling and discomfort gradually subside, and the initial healing process begins. Follow-up appointments may be scheduled to monitor the healing progress and remove any sutures if necessary.

First two weeks

Most patients start to feel more comfortable during this period, although some residual swelling or minor discomfort may still persist. You may be able to transition to a more normal diet, but it’s important to continue avoiding hard or chewy foods that could irritate the surgical area.

First month

By the end of the first month, the majority of the initial healing is usually complete. However, full recovery and the formation of new bone or soft tissue can take several months to a year, depending on the nature of the surgery.

NB:

It’s important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your oral surgeon or dentist, including proper oral hygiene practices and any prescribed medications. Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure the healing process is progressing as expected.

Keep in mind that each person’s recovery timeline may differ based on their overall health, the complexity of the surgery, and their body’s natural healing abilities. It’s essential to consult with your oral surgeon or dentist for personalized guidance and to address any specific concerns you may have.

FAQs

Swelling after oral surgery: how long should it last?

Swelling is common following oral surgery, and can persist for two to three days before starting to subside. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Signs of infection after oral surgery

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 to 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 consume liquids and 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

There are various things you should avoid after oral surgery to promote recovery:

  • 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 waterBrush 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.

Author

  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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