What Are the Best Tips for Recovering after Gum Surgery?

Alex Tree

The best tip for recovery after gum surgery is to follow the surgeon’s instructions on caring for the wound. These instructions typically include packing the wound site until it has stopped bleeding, usually with gauze provided by the surgeon. Some activities, such as smoking and sucking on straws, should be avoided to help along the healing process. It is also very important to take prescribed antibiotics to prevent the development of infections, which can sometimes be fatal depending on the infection and the patient’s health. Lastly, pain is to be expected but should always be manageable.

A woman with healthy gums.
A woman with healthy gums.

After gum surgery, the surgeon packs a wad of gauze into and around the wound. The patient is typically advised to remove the pack 30 minutes to one hour after the surgery to give the wound time to stop bleeding. It is possible that one hour is not enough time for the wound to clot and removing the pack leads to even more blood. In most cases, the patient is given clean gauze for situations like this. If the wound continues to bleed, the patient need only fold and repack the wound and then wait another hour.

Smoking cigarettes can delay recovery from gum surgery.
Smoking cigarettes can delay recovery from gum surgery.

Blood clotting at the surgery site is a perfectly normal part of the healing process. Activities that might hinder or interfere with blood clotting should be avoided to heal as quickly as possible. Using straws to drink, smoking cigarettes or other nicotine products, and brushing the surgery site can all delay healing. Most people find themselves capable of eating solid foods two days after gum surgery, but dentists typically recommend returning to a normal diet as soon as the patient is comfortable, whether that is within one day or three days. If possible, the patient should chew on the opposite side.

If the patient was given antibiotics, he or she should take them according to the doctor’s instructions. Generally, antibiotics are prescribed when a person has an impaired immune system, certain heart problems, or recently had other surgeries. The antibiotics help prevent the patient from developing an infection that could severely delay healing or lead to more serious health problems. These pills should be taken until they are all gone or until a doctor advises the patient to stop taking them.

Some pain should be expected after gum surgery. The surgeon usually prescribes a pain medication to eliminate or at least reduce the pain to a manageable level. If the pain is still too much after taking the pain medication, the patient should contact his or her surgeon to discuss the problem. Sometimes the dosage can be adjusted or a new medication prescribed. It is very normal to have some pain, though, and sometimes unrealistic to expect a pain medication to eliminate the pain.

Gauze can be helpful for packing the wound site after gum surgery.
Gauze can be helpful for packing the wound site after gum surgery.

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