An important element of a successful oral surgery experience is knowing what to expect in the post-operative recovery period. Swelling is one part of that. Fortunately, patients can take steps to manage this symptom. During the first 6-9 hours, we recommend that you apply an ice bag for 20 minutes at a time, alternating sides if necessary. On the second day after surgery, you should switch to warm moist heat. Your oral surgeon will discuss this aspect of post-operative self-care with you in greater detail, and you can get written instructions before leaving the surgery appointment, as well.
Swelling is part of the body’s natural healing response and a reasonable amount is not cause for alarm. It should peak within 48-72 hours following the oral surgery. That being said, if the swelling persists for more than three days after your surgery, it may indicate some sort of problem.
You should also carefully follow all other post-operative instructions provided by your oral surgeon. Doing so will reduce your risk of complications that will interfere with healing from your oral surgery. Be sure to clean your mouth as directed. Doing so will help to prevent infection, which can be problematic after surgery.
Your oral surgeon may provide more specific instructions for certain procedures. For example, patients must avoid using drinking straws after having their wisdom teeth removed because the suction can cause painful dry sockets, which occur when blood clots are dislodged or fail to form, exposing the sensitive nerves underneath.
In addition to persistent swelling, there are other signs that can indicate complications, including fever, ongoing bleeding and severe pain, among others. If you notice any of these issues, call our office right away to follow up and get further direction.
Some swelling is expected after surgical procedures including wisdom tooth extraction, dental implant placement or jaw surgery. You will receive detailed instructions about how to manage this symptom, and if you have any additional questions, we encourage you to call our office to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates.