How to Recover from Oral Surgery

Oral surgery can be stressful on the mind and body, whether it’s a tooth extraction, root canal, or something more serious. In addition to the procedure, you also have to deal with the recovery period. Proper care during that time can prevent infection and reduce pain. So instead of taking your best guess, try following the tips below on how to recover from oral surgery. 

Follow InstructionsPhoto by Andrea Piacquadio:

First and foremost, always follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. This is no time for freestyling. Your surgeon will tell you in detail how to care for your mouth to expedite the healing process. Refusal to follow his guidelines can result in complications or infection.


During periods of rest and sleep are when the body heals itself, so it’s important to remain as inactive as possible on the day of your surgery. If you lie down, prop your head up on pillows to reduce swelling and bleeding. 

Apply Ice

Keep the swelling down by applying ice throughout the day. Experts recommend putting the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes and taking it off for 15 minutes. The cold application will constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the area.

Take Pain Medication

Even if you aren’t in pain immediately after the procedure, it’s important to take the prescribed pain medication anyway. The medicine can take time to absorb into your system, and it’s best if taken while the numbing agents from the surgery are still working. Your body heals more quickly when not stressed by excessive pain, and it’s easier to address the pain before it’s set in rather than to treat it after it has begun. 

Eat Soft Foods

Liquids and softer foods are best for the first day or two. Yogurt, soup, and mashed potatoes are all good options that won’t damage the sensitive area. 

Salt Water Rinse

A clean mouth is crucial during the healing process, but brushing can damage the surgical site. During the first 24 hours, your dental professional will most likely advise you not to rinse at all. After that period, a warm salt water rinse several times a day will help remove food debris and promote healing. 


To recover from oral surgery, be sure to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions concerning pain medication, soft foods, and saltwater rinses. Even though the procedure may cause some discomfort, the healing process can be a smooth, stress-free experience with these simple tips. 


Still have questions? Find more details on post-surgical care here!

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