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Healing after extractions and oral surgery

One of the most important aspects of oral surgery is the healing process. It is crucial to follow orders provided by your doctor after your surgery, or you put yourself at a high risk for infection. Here are a few guidelines to make sure you reduce your risk of infection after extractions or other oral surgery:

R&R: Rest and Recovery are two of the most important things to keep in mind after having oral surgery. If you had surgery on your leg, would you go and walk two miles the next day? I don’t think so. The same goes for your mouth. You should be resting for at least two days after having oral surgery, which means no physical activity for at least two to three days post-surgery. Resting is integral to a healthy and non-infected mouth after surgery.

Bleeding: Bleeding after having oral surgery is completely normal; don’t worry! Your dentist or oral surgeon should provide you with tips on how to clean your mouth up without hurting you in the process. After having oral surgery, gauze may be given to you for placement on a specific area in your mouth and pressure may need to be applied as well. One recommendation for how to apply needed pressure is to gently bite down on the area where your gauze has been placed to apply proper pressure. The last thing you want to do is put fingers in your mouth after having surgery. Your gauze may need to be changed every 30 to 45 minutes depending on the severity of the blood. Remember, bleeding is normal for the first day or so, however, if it continues after two days or appears excessive, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

Swelling: Swelling and sometimes bruising can occur, especially when getting your “Wisdom Teeth” removed. The worst swelling and bruising normally occurs two to three days after the surgery. After your surgery, ice packs may be applied for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off until you go to bed, which will keep your swelling to a minimum. Also, when you go to bed, keeping your head elevated, at least for the first night or two could help with easing any discomfort and further reduce swelling. Just like when anything else is swollen, you are to keep it elevated. Control your mouth swelling by keeping your head up for the first couple of nights.

Hygiene: Don’t be tempted to rinse or spit for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. After the first 24 hours, lightly gargling, or gently rinsing, four times a day using warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) is also recommended. Do this after every meal. Whatever you do, don’t use mouthwash.

For more information on good dental hygiene after surgery, visit our website at to find out how we can help you.

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