6 Ways to Prepare For Oral Surgery

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Oral surgery includes any operation performed by a dental specialist on your teeth, gums, or jaw. Like most other surgeries, preparing for oral surgery can often lead to feelings of nervousness and anticipation. Knowing what to expect and being prepared is the best way to ease anxiety.

Patients who take the time to plan ahead for the period following an oral surgery are more likely to experience a smoother recovery. 

How to Plan Ahead for Oral Surgery

Although your surgeon will probably give you most of the information you will need to get ready for your surgery, you may also want to do your own research. Here’s what you need to know about preparing for oral surgery.

1. Consultation

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Unless you’re having emergency surgery, the first step toward oral surgery is a consultation with your surgeon. At a consultation, the doctor will tell you what to expect from the surgery, take your medical history, and tell you which medications to avoid in the weeks before the operation.

Now is the time to ask your doctor any specific questions you may have about the surgery and discuss sedation options. Before your consultation, write down your questions, so you don’t forget anything important.

Are you looking for an excellent oral surgeon? Absolute Dental has you covered. Contact our team of professionals today for a consultation.

2. Transportation

Most oral surgeries are outpatient surgeries, which means you’ll be discharged shortly after the operation. It’s best to arrange for transportation home since you won’t be able to drive yourself due to the lasting effects of the anesthesia.

It’s also good to have someone stay with you for a night or two after the surgery. This person can keep an eye on you, call the doctor if complications arise, and help care for any children or pets.

The doctor will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics for you to take after the surgery. You will want to arrange for someone to pick these up before you get home so they are ready when you need them.

3. Food and Beverages Before and After

Before Surgery:

  • Depending on the surgery, the doctor may ask you to fast the night before, particularly if you use general anesthesia. 
  • It may be recommended not to eat anything at least eight hours before the surgery. 
  • If you’re going to have local anesthesia, you may be able to eat a light meal a few hours before. 
  • Clean your teeth before the operation, as this cuts down on the bacteria that can get into the surgical wound.

After Surgery:

  • A diet of soft foods will be best so you don’t have to do any hard chewing or biting.
  • Food should be bland and soft, and you may want to try protein powder shakes or nutritionally enhanced liquids for a few days. 
  • Don’t drink liquids through a straw because this may lead to dry socket. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after the operation. 
  • You shouldn’t eat anything at all until your anesthesia wears off and you can feel your cheek and your tongue. If you eat while they’re still numb, you may bite them accidentally.

If you smoke, now is the time to quit for good. Smoking interferes with healing, and even the sucking action of smoking can prevent your oral surgery wound from healing the way it should. It can cause dry socket, which is when the blood clot that forms in the surgical wound becomes dislodged and leaves the wound exposed. Dry socket is a painful condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Is it time to get your wisdom teeth removed? Contact Absolute Dental today to set up a consultation. 

4. What to Wear

Wear old, loose, comfortable clothing to the surgery. Don’t wear makeup, jewelry, or contact lenses. After the operation, you may also want to bring some lip balm to soothe dry lips.

5. Medications

The surgeon may ask you to stop taking blood-thinning medications a couple of weeks before the surgery. These medications, which include aspirin, can prolong the healing process. Some doctors start their patients on antibiotics and pain meds before the surgery to make sure they’re comfortable.

As discussed, someone should pick up painkillers beforehand so they can be ready for you when you get home. Antibiotics used by dentists include penicillin VK, erythromycin, clindamycin, ticarcillin, and metronidazole. Painkillers include non-narcotics such as prescription strength acetaminophen.

6. Your Home

Young man lying on the couch with an icepack on his cheek.

You will want to start preparing your home for recovery well before the surgery. Change your bed linens into clean but expendable ones, as they are likely to be stained. Find plenty of pillows to keep your head propped up during the postoperative period.

Consider placing things you may need such as reading materials and games on the nightstand and keep your phone nearby in case you need to call for help. Don’t wait to buy soft foods such as yogurt and ingredients for smoothies on the day of the surgery, but have them ready in the fridge. You will also want to have ice packs ready to go.

Tips for Recovery

  • Sleep with your head elevated for at least a few days
  • Take it as easy and avoid any strenuous activity in the days following your surgery
  • Use a cold compress to ease swelling and discomfort
  • Beginning 24 hours after your surgery, you can usually rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water
  • Brush and floss your teeth as usual

What to Expect During Recovery

The vast majority of oral surgery patients make a complete recovery. The pain and swelling should ease after about two days. If you’re still having pain despite the analgesics or bleeding excessively, get in touch with the surgeon. Call them if you have nausea, vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, or other symptoms of an infection.

Time Considerations for Surgery and Recovery

The length of an oral surgery depends on what it’s treating. Pulling a wisdom tooth generally takes less than two hours, while a dental implant can take months with several phases.

Recovery from a one-stop oral surgery such as wisdom tooth extraction or root canal therapy may take about two weeks. Jaw surgery can take as long as five hours, and it may take about a month to a month and a half to heal.

Types of Oral Surgery


The reasons people have oral surgery include:

  • Wisdom tooth extraction
  • Root canal therapy
  • Dental Implants
  • Oral cancer
  • Emergency dental removals
  • Jaw surgery
  • Injuries to the jaw and teeth
  • Biopsies
  • Infections

Dental Emergencies That May Require Oral Surgery

Dealing with tooth issues may not always require emergency care but it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment whenever you’re unsure. Here are some dental emergencies thay may require oral surgery:

  • Abscessed tooth
  • Knocked out tooth
  • Tooth pain
  • Impacted tooth
  • Dental implant complications
  • Cracked, dislocated, or broken jaw joint

Oral Surgery Near Me

By considering your oral surgeon’s advice, and the above tips for preparing for oral surgery, you can position yourself for a quick and smooth recovery. Absolute Dental can help with all your dental care needs. Contact our offices to make an appointment.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Near Me

If you need your wisdom teeth removed, it’s essential to find a certified oral surgeon to perform the procedure. Contact our offices in Reno or Las Vegas to schedule your consultation for dental oral surgery today.

Emergency Dentist Near Me

Absolute Dental has experienced emergency oral surgeons at both its dental clinics in Reno and Las Vegas, NV. We are prepared to handle routine visits and day of emergency care. Call today to schedule an appointment.

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About the Author

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Dr. Joan Landron

Currently serving the community at Absolute Dental since August 2008, Dr. Joan Landron graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1997.

She further honed her skills with a general practice residency at Metropolitan Hospital and underwent specialized training at New York University’s Implant Program for General Practitioners. Specializing in services such as X-rays, examinations, cleanings, crowns, and more, Dr. Landron brings a comprehensive approach to general and cosmetic dentistry, including implants.

A proud member of the American Dental Association, Nevada Dental Association, and Southern Nevada Dental Association, she cherishes her free time by spending moments with family, reading, and maintaining her health through exercise. Dr. Landron takes immense pride in being a part of the Absolute Dental team and is dedicated to her patients at the Absolute Dental – Nellis in Las Vegas, ensuring they receive the best care possible.

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