Although dental procedures may not sound as scary as most other surgeries, you should always be careful any time anesthesia is involved. Be prepared for pain (or at least mild discomfort), bleeding, swelling, and possibly nausea, depending on the procedure and your body’s unique reaction to anesthesia and pain medication. To help things go as smoothly as possible, here are 14 things to avoid before and after any dental procedure.
- Do not drive after any procedure involving anesthesia (teeth pulling, root canal, implants, etc.)
- Do not eat or drink anything the morning of the surgery.
- Do not eat anything hard/crunchy (pretzels, chips, etc.) or chewy (steak, gum, etc.) for six to eight weeks after the procedure. Stick to soft foods (yogurt, broth, et.) that are rich in Vitamins A or C.
- Do not eat rich, fatty foods, as they may cause nausea.
- Avoid hot foods and drinks until the effects of the anesthesia have completely worn off. Otherwise you may burn yourself without realizing it.
- Do not drink alcohol or use a straw for at least the first 24 hours after oral surgery.
- Do not participate in any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours after the procedure, depending on how long it takes the swelling to go down.
- Do not use any full-strength mouthwash within the first week after the procedure, as mouthwashes contain alcohol, which inhibits healing. Warm salt water rinses are recommended.
- Do not chew anything until the effects of the anesthesia have completely worn off and you have regained full sensation in your tongue and cheeks – otherwise you risk biting your tongue and/or cheeks without realizing it.
- Do not eat rice, seeds, or anything else small enough to risk getting lodged in the surgical area.
- Do not eat for at least 2-3 hours after the procedure, in order to give the open wound(s) time to clot.
- Do not smoke (preferably ever, but at least one week after the procedure) because the suction involved increases bleeding and the nicotine and tar can stop the blood from clotting and the wound(s) from healing.
- Do not change or remove the gauze pads for at least one hour after the procedure.
- Do not rinse or brush vigorously after the procedure or poke the area with your finger or any objects. You should gently brush your teeth, but be careful to avoid the affected area(s) as much as possible.
These are all general guidelines you can follow with almost any dental procedure, but every procedure and every body is different. You may have certain unique problems appear after surgery that don’t bother anyone else and/or you might not experience some of the post-procedure symptoms that are common in many other patients. Stay aware of your body and note anything unusual, especially if it persists. Notify your dentist if anything seems off and it isn’t going away, especially if it looks like the site isn’t healing as well or as quickly as it should.
Dr. Oller is always here to answer your questions. You can contact her here. And as she always says…