Oral Surgery Aftermath: What Should You Expect?

Sep 09, 2015
Oral Surgery Aftermath: What Should You Expect?
Undergoing oral surgery—from a simple extraction to root canal therapy—results in a period of recovery. This recovery time is necessary in order to avoid any post-op complications...

Post-Op Guidelines for a Speedy Oral Surgery Recovery

Undergoing oral surgery—from a simple extraction to root canal therapy—results in a period of recovery. This recovery time is necessary in order to avoid any post-op complications. However, many people avoid the dentist for even the easiest procedures – simply to avoid the painful aftermath of the procedure. At Beaufils Dental, we provide our patients with full instructions to achieve a full recovery, depending on the degree of the procedure performed.

Recovery Tips (Based on Procedure)

As a rule of thumb, you should always wait two hours before eating after any oral surgery in order for the anesthesia to wear off. Eating before this time could result in soft tissue damage, as your mouth is still numb from the anesthesia. Driving under anesthesia is also out of the question. For this reason, it’s important to have someone available to drive you home post-procedure.

Root Canal Therapy

After a root canal procedure, expect soreness and around the area of the procedure for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed to avoid irritating the area and to ensure that the temporary restorative material properly sets. You will also need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling)call your dentist immediately.

Crowns and Bridges/Veneers

Before you receive your permanent crown or bridge/veneer, you will first receive a temporary restoration. This restoration is not as sturdy as its permanent version; however, both may cause sensitivity and irritation as the soft tissue heals. Exercise caution when cleaning the area and eating by avoiding sticky or chewy foods. The area should be brushed and flossed carefully; pulling up on the tooth when flossing can cause it to become dislodged. We like to assure our patients that it may take a few days for a crown or bridge/veneer to feel natural. However, we encourage them to visit us if their bite begins to feel abnormal.

White Fillings (Bonding)

During recovery for white fillings (or bonding), your teeth will most likely be sensitive after the anesthesia wears off. It would be best to avoid foods or drinks that are too hot/too cold during this period. As this feeling improves, continue your normal hygiene plan to ensure that your fillings last for a long time.

Scaling and Root Planing

Expect your gums to feel slightly sore and irritated for a few days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp salt/8 oz water) 2-3 times a day will help relieve the pain and cleanse the area. We encourage our patients to maintain their brushing and flossing routine immediately after the procedure; however, the area should be brushed gently to avoid further irritation. If you experience any swelling or stiffness in the area, you can place a cold compress on it and take some pain relieving medicine. Avoid any hard or chewy foods for 2-3 days after the surgery to ensure the area heals correctly. If you continue to experience pain or swelling after a few days, contact your dentist.


It is normal for an extraction site to bleed within the first 24 hours following surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery and should be changed periodically to prevent them from soaking. If the bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours, notify your dentist. Avoid laying flat on your back while resting, as this could prolong the bleeding; instead, keep your head angled by propping it on a pillow. Pain medication will be prescribed and should be used as directed if soreness occurs. Ice packs are also effective when combating extraction pain. Some patients are also prescribed a cleaning solution to keep the extraction site clean. Avoid smoking and using straws when drinking, as the sucking motion can loosen the sutures and delay the clotting process.

When recovering from an extraction, stick to foods that can be consumed without chewing, such as:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Ice cream
  • Yogurt
  • “Thin” soups

At Beaufils Dental, patient care is our top priority. We understand that recovering from your oral surgery can seem difficult. By following the steps provided for your respective procedure, we can ensure a successful and less painful recovery. If any abnormal symptoms arise or you experience prolonged irritation, bleeding or any other uncomfortable reactions, you may be experiencing a dental emergency. Dr. Beaufils is available 24 hours a day to help assess and treat these emergencies. reach our emergency after-hours line, contact us at 954-937-8251. Otherwise, call us today at 954-252-1390 to schedule an appointment with us and learn more about how we can make your oral surgery experience a positive one.