What Should We Do To Prevent Infections After Oral Surgery Or Extractions?
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What Should We Do To Prevent Infections After Oral Surgery Or Extractions?

Sometimes oral surgery is necessary to achieve a healthy, beautiful, and fully functional smile. Common oral surgeries include tooth extraction, dental implant surgery, gum flap surgery, and gum contouring.

While most of these surgeries have high success rates, they all carry a risk of infections and other complications. This article highlights common signs of infection and practical tips for caring for your mouth to prevent infections and promote a speedy recovery after oral surgery.

Signs of infections

Below are common signs that indicate an infection after a surgical procedure:

  • Excessive bleeding at the extraction or surgical site
  • Persistent or worsening pain that won’t settle with medications
  • Oozing discharge or pus around the surgical site
  • Worsening or persistent swelling around the surgical site
  • Fever

Contact your surgeon or visit our New Westminster dental clinic immediately if you have these symptoms. Infections can lead to delayed healing, dental implant failure, severe discomfort, and other complications if not treated promptly.

Tips for preventing infections after oral extractions and surgery

Below are practical tips for incorporating into your oral care to ensure a smooth recovery process and prevent infections:

  • Follow post-operative instructions.

After your surgery, your dentist or surgeon will give you specific post-care instructions to promote optimal recovery and prevent infections. You must follow these instructions strictly. They can include guidelines on oral hygiene, diet, wound care, and follow-up appointments.

  • Rest adequately.

Engaging in strenuous activities like weight lifting after oral surgery can cause increased pressure on the surgical site, leading to increased pain, bleeding, or swelling. It delays healing and increases the risk of infections at the surgical site. For optimal healing and recovery, rest adequately for at least 48 hours. Be sure to keep your head elevated when resting.

  • Control bleeding.

Bleeding is a common side effect of tooth extraction and oral surgery. However, excessive bleeding isn’t normal and can increase your risk of infections. To control bleeding, keep the gauze pad at the surgical site to promote clot formation and minimize bleeding.

  • Avoid spitting and rinsing.

Spitting or rinsing your mouth vigorously can dislodge the blood clot in the surgical site, leading to prolonged bleeding, pain, or swelling. It increases the risk of developing infections at the surgical site.

  • Keep the surgical site clean.

Proper hygiene around the surgical site is crucial for promoting a speedy recovery and preventing infections. However, be cautious, as disturbing the surgical site can lead to complications. Here are some guidelines:

  • Gentle brushing. Resume brushing after 24 hours. Be gentle and avoid the surgical site to prevent disturbing the blood clot.
  • Use saltwater rinses. Rinse regularly with a saltwater solution, ideally after 24 hours or as your dentist directs.
  • Avoid alcohol mouthwash. Alcohol-based mouthwash can irritate the surgical site and dislodge the clot, increasing infections.
  • Rinse gently. Rinse gently to avoid dislodging the blood clot, which can prolong healing and cause infection.
  • Take medication as prescribed.

The dentist or surgeon may prescribe painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs to minimize pain, infections, and swelling. Take all your medication as directed.

  • Apply ice packs.

Applying ice packs on the cheek against the affected area can help minimize pain and swelling and promote a smooth recovery. Wrap an ice pack in a clean thin cloth and apply it for about 15 minutes.

  • Avoid smoking and alcohol.

Taking tobacco and alcoholic products can impair your body’s natural healing ability, increasing your risk of infections after extractions or oral surgery. These products can constrict blood vessels, reducing blood and oxygen flow to the surgical site and delaying healing. You must avoid smoking and alcohol for at least 72 hours before and after surgery.

  • Maintain a soft diet.

Eating the right foods during recovery can help promote faster healing and prevent infections. Stick to a soft diet that requires minimal chewing to avoid disturbing the surgical site. Soft foods include soups, minced meat, eggs, fish, mashed potatoes, and soft fruits and vegetables.

  • Proper hydration

Drinking enough water is essential to keep you hydrated and wash away bacteria and debris from the mouth to prevent infections. It also aids in faster healing and recovery.

Visit our dentist in New Westminster.

Do you need more tips for caring for your mouth after oral extractions or surgery? Contact Asante Dental Centre to speak with our dentist near you.

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