Tips to Prepare for Oral Surgery

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Oral surgeries can include anything from simple tooth extraction to a more involved corrective jaw surgery to alleviate TMJ symptoms. Before any oral surgery appointment, it’s important to know exactly what to expect before, during, and after your particular procedure. The expert family and cosmetic dentists here at Volterra Dental in Los Alamitos, California, perform a comprehensive list of oral surgeries right in their office, so you can go home to recover afterward.

Our dentists share their tips to prepare you for oral surgery procedures, and at the office, they provide detailed instructions based on your particular surgery so you know precisely how to plan for the best possible experience and a smooth recovery.

Ask questions about the procedure

If you’re planning a scheduled oral surgery, be sure to ask your dentist specific questions like:

  • How long will the surgery take?
  • Will I need a general or local anesthetic?
  • Will I be able to drive myself home after surgery?
  • How long will the recovery period be?
  • What foods should I avoid before and after surgery?
  • Are there any special instructions to follow before I come in for my appointment?
  • What are the risks or potential complications I should be aware of?

Whether you’re having a wisdom tooth extracted or getting a dental implant, it can help you feel more confident while calming any anxiety or apprehension if you fully understand what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

Plan for someone to drive you home

In most cases, even with a local anesthetic, you may not want to drive home following oral surgery. It’s a good idea to have a family member or friend to ensure that you arrive home safely. They can also pick up any prescriptions you may need for pain or to prevent infection. Planning ahead for these things can also ease stress knowing that you’ll have help if you need it.

Take extra precautions if you are a smoker

You shouldn’t smoke for at least 12 hours before oral surgery, and for a minimum of 24 hours after, or longer whenever possible. Smoking, in general, can delay the healing process for most surgeries, but when it comes to oral surgery, such as having your wisdom teeth extracted, smoking can actually cause additional complications.

Smoking increases your risk of the dry socket — a condition in which the blood clot that forms over your incision comes loose. After tooth extraction, a blood clot naturally forms in the space where your tooth once was. Smoking can dislodge the clot, which not only interferes with the healing process but can also be extremely painful.

It’s best to quit smoking altogether after oral surgery, to keep your mouth healthy going forward, but even more critical in the first few days that follow your procedure.

Plan to eat soft foods after oral surgery

After oral surgery, plan to eat foods that don’t require a whole lot of chewing, so you won’t cause pain to your already swollen or tender gums and jaw. You’ll want to avoid hard, crunchy foods as well as spicy or acidic foods that can irritate your gums. Oatmeal, gelatin, soups, and protein shakes are good options, but avoid using a straw, as that can increase your risk of dry socket, too.

Wear comfortable clothing

This may seem like an obvious consideration, but you’ll want to dress in something comfortable the day of your oral surgery. It’s also a good idea to wear short sleeves so the dental team can easily access your arm for IV anesthesia if that’s part of your procedure. Leave necklaces at home, and don’t wear anything that fits tightly around your neck, like a scarf or tie.

Since immediately following oral surgery, you may want to take it easy and rest for a few hours, the dentist doesn’t mind if you come dressed in comfortable attire. Here at Volterra Dental, your comfort throughout the whole experience is one of our top priorities.

If you have questions about specific types of oral surgeries, we’re happy to talk to you. Feel free to give us a call or schedule a consultation online. At our Los Alamitos office, we have the latest technologies and practice the latest dental techniques to improve your oral health and get you back on your feet efficiently.