Recovery from oral surgery can take at least a few days, but most patients find the experience to be smooth sailing. Complications rarely occur after tooth extraction, facial surgery, bone grafting, dental implant placement, jaw reconstruction and other oral procedures.
That said, oral surgery, just like every other type of surgery, does carry a risk of complications. Here, we explain the issues you could face during recovery and the steps you can take to avoid problems.
What to Expect After Oral Surgery
Once the anesthesia wears off, you will likely feel some pain or soreness. The degree and duration of your discomfort will depend upon the complexity of your surgical procedure, and it should fade as time goes on.
Swelling is also common after oral surgery, but it usually doesn’t last for long. The same is true for bleeding, as it should stop within hours of your procedure. Bruising occurs less often, but is not unusual.
Infection is another possible post-surgery complication. The symptoms include prolonged bleeding, increased swelling, throbbing pain, low-grade fever, limited jaw mobility and discharge from the surgical site.
Serious Complications that Can Occur
A small percentage of patients experience more serious complications after oral surgery.
Dry socket is potential complication of tooth extraction, caused when the surgical site fails to heal or the blood clot becomes dislodged. The symptoms of dry socket may include severe pain a day or more after the procedure, slight fever, a bad taste in the mouth and bad breath.
Reactions to anesthesia are possible, with patients experiencing nausea, headache, drowsiness and/or confusion. These symptoms typically wear off within 24 hours. More rarely, allergic reactions can occur, causing itching, swelling and shortness of breath.
Other rare complications that can occur include sinus exposure, nerve injury and osteonecrosis of the jaw.
What You Can Do to Prevent Oral Surgery Complications
If you experience any symptoms of a possible post-surgery complication, contact your oral surgeon for immediate care. Often, treatment is simple – but if you wait, the problem could get worse.
Hopefully, you won’t have to worry about complications. Most patients, as we mentioned, recover without any problems. To set yourself up for a smooth and easy recovery, experts recommend:
- Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest in the days before the procedure
- Telling your oral surgeon about all of the over-the-counter and prescription medications, vitamins and supplements you take
- Avoiding cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and alcoholic beverages both before and after your procedure
- Following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions and keeping your appointments for follow-up examinations
At Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, serving the greater central Indiana area, our patients rarely experience complications. Nevertheless, our oral surgeons have the skill to successfully manage any post-surgery problems that can occur.
For more information on the procedures we perform at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, or to schedule an oral surgery consultation, contact our Indianapolis, Indiana, office today.