Recovering From Oral Surgery

It is essential to properly prepare for your oral surgery when you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, other teeth extracted from overcrowding, a toothache, or different types of surgery to correct oral and maxillofacial conditions. Part of this process requires reviewing how to practice aftercare to help you recover faster.

dentists performing oral surgery on patient

How To Prepare for Oral Surgery?

The best way to prepare for oral surgery is to consult with your oral surgeon and ask plenty of questions about what you need to do to recover and heal. Be sure to plan ahead for transportation home and care while you recover. Shop before the big day so you are prepared with food and supplies once you return home.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Oral Surgery?

The amount of time it takes for oral surgery recovery is directly related to the procedure performed. For example, if you had tooth removal surgery, where a single tooth was extracted, the recovery time will be less than having all four wisdom teeth removed.

Symptoms After Surgery

Immediately following your dentist surgery with your oral surgeon in Las Vegas, your gums, tongue, and cheeks will still feel numb. As the sedation wears off, you will probably notice your face and jaw is sore. You may also see some continued bleeding at the extraction site. 

Other common symptoms you could experience include:

  • Swelling
  • Minor bruising
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Sore throat
  • Dry, chapped lips
  • Minor earache
  • Headache

Oral Surgery Aftercare Tips

1. Rest

You should plan to take the day off from work or school. Your body needs time to recover following your oral surgery. So, take it easy, sleep, and drink plenty of water.

woman resting after dental surgery

2. Avoid Strenuous Activities

Take it easy for the next few days. You should avoid strenuous activities for at least three days following your surgical procedure.

3. Treat Your Pain

Take any pain medications as needed. Your oral surgeon in Las Vegas may have given you a prescription. Check with your doctor to see if acetaminophen1, ibuprofen, and naproxen2 can be used to alleviate pain if you are not given a prescription.

4. Control Bleeding

Control bleeding by using gauze and placing it over the tooth removal site. Carefully bite down to apply pressure to help with clotting.

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5. Avoid Smoking or Using a Straw

Avoid smoking, vaping, or using a straw for at least 24 hours following surgery. The suction created can cause your wound to reopen and lead to infection. 

6. Rinse Gently

Gently rinse your mouth with a solution of one cup of warm water mixed with a half teaspoon of salt every 12 hours.

woman rinsing her mouth out with water with salt

7. Elevate Your Head

Use extra pillows to keep your head elevated when you sleep. You should avoid lying flat for a few days to help speed up healing.  

8. Maintain Proper Oral Care

Continue proper oral care by brushing and flossing your teeth. However, you should avoid the area where you had oral surgery. 

9. Avoid Alcohol and Carbonated Drinks

Do not drink carbonated beverages or alcohol for at least three days following surgery. Carbonation can irritate the wound. The numbing effects of alcohol could cause you to rip open the wound accidentally. 

10. Use Ice For Swelling

You can use an ice pack to help with swelling. Apply an ice pack externally to your teeth and jaw where it is swollen. Use it in half-hour intervals the rest of the day after your oral surgery. Make sure to remove the ice pack for at least 15 minutes between applications.

male using an ice pack to help with the swelling from surgery

11. Contact Dentist If Issues Arise

Notify your dental office if you have any issues. For example, if the bleeding continues or you run a fever for more than 24 hours, call your dentist.  

12. Keep Post-Op Appointments

Do not miss any of your follow-up appointments. The purpose of these appointments is to ensure healing is progressing correctly.

What to Eat After Oral Surgery?

Even though you may be craving a cheeseburger or pizza, it is best to stick to soft foods for the first week. Some of the best soft foods to eat after oral surgery include:

  • Soup 
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Jell-O
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Apple sauce
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Cottage cheese
  • Well-cooked soft vegetables
  • Oatmeal
  • Bread
  • Hummus
  • Mac-n-cheese

You can also enjoy milkshakes and smoothies, but you need to eat these with a spoon. Then, as you notice your mouth is feeling better, you can start to incorporate thinly sliced deli meats, baked or broiled fish, bananas, smashed-up avocados, soft cheeses, and meatloaf.

man eating soup after oral surgery

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How Long Does It Take To Feel Better After Oral Surgery?

Several factors will determine how long it will take before you start to feel better after your oral surgery, including:

  • The Type of Procedure – A single tooth extraction will heal faster than getting a dental implant or a more complex surgical procedure. 
  • Your Age – Younger people tend to heal faster compared to the elderly.  
  • Any Pre-Existing Health Conditions – Certain health conditions can slow the healing process. 
  • Your Overall Health – If you eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly, you should expect to heal faster than someone who doesn’t eat a balanced diet, is less active, and doesn’t exercise. 

Most people start to notice they are feeling better about a week after oral surgery. However, full oral surgery recovery can take two to three weeks before the extraction site is fully healed. 

During this time, you should continue to reintroduce foods slowly. You want to avoid any type of hard, crunchy, spicey, highly acidic, or sticky food that could irritate the surgical site. After the second week, you can start to return to your more extraneous routines and activities. 

If, at any time, during your recovery, you have any side effects or bleeding returns and will not stop, contact your dental office immediately.

Oral Surgery Recovery Final Thoughts

The most effective way to determine your oral surgery recovery time is to:

  • Speak to your oral surgeon in Las Vegas
  • Consider your responsibilities post-surgery
  • Verify and confirm you understand your post-surgery care instructions
  • Continue to practice aftercare for a minimum of three weeks 

Oral Surgery and Recovery in Las Vegas

You can take care of all your preventative oral care, oral surgery dental procedures, and oral surgery recovery in one location at Absolute Dental in Las Vegas. Our dental professionals are compassionate, caring, and here to help you maintain your oral health. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.


  1. WebMD. Acetaminophen – Uses, Side Effects, and More. Retrieved 08 June 2022.
  2. WebMD. Naproxen Tablet – Uses, Side Effects, and More. Retrieved 08 June 2022.

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