Though you may fear the thought of oral surgery and the recovery process, it doesn’t always involve great amounts of discomfort. Qualified oral surgeons leverage advanced tools and techniques to minimize any pain during and after the procedure.
Sometimes oral surgeons prescribe opioid pain medication to help during the recovery period. However, some patients worry about the adverse effects of opioids. This is an understandable reaction. That’s why, if you’re undergoing oral surgery in the near future, you may want to know how to prevent significant discomfort without relying on the use of opioids.
The best step to take is to discuss this topic with your oral surgeon, who will appreciate you voicing your concerns ahead of time.
There are some procedures that may require the use of opioid medication to address pain during the recovery period. Even so, oral surgeons try to avoid prescribing them unless they are absolutely necessary. Talking to your oral surgeon and keeping the following tips in mind may help you recover without opioid medication.
Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter products like ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen can be a safe alternative to opioids and still provide substantial relief from pain. Of course, you still need to take them according to the dosing instructions on the label.
Just remember that over-the-counter pain relievers still qualify as medication. It’s best to discuss your condition and any prescriptions you currently take with both your oral surgeon and your doctor before using them.
Discomfort following oral surgery is frequently the result of inflammation. Luckily, reducing inflammation can be easy. Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area may be enough to minimize your pain. Cold temperatures reduce inflammation and swelling by safely reducing excessive blood flow to the part of your body that’s causing you pain.
Follow Instructions Carefully
Depending on the nature of your procedure, your oral surgeon may recommend avoiding certain types of foods for a period of time after surgery. It’s important to follow this advice carefully. Eating the wrong foods or drinking the wrong beverages could worsen your discomfort.
This is another reason why you should talk to your oral surgeon ahead of time. They’ll let you know what foods you can eat and what foods you should avoid. This gives you the chance to stock up on needed items before the procedure. Patients who don’t adhere to their oral surgeon’s directions during the recovery period often do so because they didn’t prepare accordingly.
Your oral surgeon will also likely recommend avoiding work or strenuous physical activity as you recover from surgery. This is yet another piece of advice that you should take seriously. Getting rest will not only help you minimize discomfort, but it will prevent you from aggravating any side effects of the procedure.
Elevate Your Head
As mentioned above, pain that you may experience as you recover from oral surgery is often a result of inflammation caused by excess blood flow to the affected area. Thus, you can prevent or reduce discomfort simply by using gravity. If you want to lie down, position your pillows to elevate your head—this prevents too much blood from rushing to your mouth. As a result, you’ll limit some degree of swelling.
Staying hydrated and getting proper nutrition is key to reducing post-surgery discomfort. However, it’s important to remember that certain beverages are better than others during this period. Your oral surgeon will typically recommend avoiding very hot or very cold fluids. That’s because your mouth will be extra sensitive as you recover from your procedure. Stick to milder beverages, and consume nutritious foods that aren’t too difficult to eat.
It can feel like a challenge to strike the right balance between getting enough nutrients and avoiding foods and beverages that may exacerbate your discomfort. This is one more reason to coordinate with your oral surgeon ahead of time. You’ll be much less likely to consume potentially harmful or painful foods if you know what items you should purchase and have available before you go into surgery.