Tips for Recovering from Oral Surgery

Woman laying on couch resting post-surgery - California Oral Surgery - Stockton, CAIf you have oral surgery, such as wisdom tooth extraction, scheduled, you might have some questions about what to expect when you get to go home and recover. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon gives you specific aftercare instructions before releasing you. However, we can also give you some advice on what to expect and ensure a smooth recovery.

Tips for recovering from oral surgery


You’re going to be sleepy after your surgery. Your surgeon won’t release you until you wake up from your sedation, but the medication will make you tired and a little confused for several hours. Make sure a friend or family member is available to drive you home. They should also help you settle in so you can rest and sleep while the after-effects of your sedative wear off. 

Resting doesn’t stop after the first 24 hours, though. Rest is critical to your body’s ability to heal and repair itself. Make sure you take it easy and get plenty of sleep — rushing back to work or school will only make your recovery longer. 


You should stick to soft, cool foods while your mouth heals. For example, yogurt, applesauce, and oatmeal are excellent options. You can also have smoothies, but don’t use a straw if you had an extraction. The sucking motion can dislodge clots, which can lead to dry socket, a painful post-surgical complication.

Cleaning your teeth

Generally, you shouldn’t brush or floss your teeth or even rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours after oral surgery. The next day, you can gently rinse with a mild saltwater solution up to four times a day. You can gently brush and floss your teeth but avoid the surgical or extraction site. As you heal, you can start to gently clean and floss the teeth in that area, but take extra care. 

Managing pain

Most patients worry about managing pain after oral surgery. After all, no one wants to live with pain. Your surgeon provides a short prescription for pain medication to get you through the first couple of days after your surgery. However, you may find that ice packs and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are an effective way to manage any discomfort. If you’re concerned about pain, talk to your oral surgeon. They’re happy to provide customized advice to help you recover in comfort.

Things to avoid

When you’re recovering from oral surgery, don’t use tobacco or drink alcohol. In fact, don’t smoke or drink before your surgery either. Both smoking and alcohol interfere with your body’s healing ability, which can prolong your recovery and potentially cause complications.

You should also avoid crunchy food. While delicious, popcorn and carrots are hard to chew, and little pieces of partially chewed food could get stuck in your empty socket or surgical site.

You should avoid strenuous exercise for at least three days after your operation. Exercise increases your blood flow everywhere in your body. Increased circulation in your mouth and gums could dislodge your blood clots.

Contact California Oral Surgery and Implantology if you’re looking for an expert oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The team has many years of experience and is committed to providing outstanding patient care, before, during, and after your surgery.

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