Oral surgery is a normal part of adult life, but it’s also common to be a little anxious about your upcoming procedure. This is true even if you are excited about the future results or don’t usually worry about the dentist. Many of our patients ease their apprehension by asking how to prepare for the operation.
From installing a bridge to removing an impacted wisdom tooth, we know that any kind of surgery can make a patient nervous. Knowing what to expect and being prepared will help you go forward with confidence.
Today, we’re here to answer all questions about how to get ready for oral surgery with a quick and easy-to-follow prep schedule. Here’s what to do the week before, the day before, and the morning of your oral surgery.
The Week Before Your Oral Surgery
In the week leading up to your procedure, take care of a checklist of tasks that you want ready before your oral surgery. This is your time to go shopping, arrange a ride home, and get your house ready to be a place of recovery.
Talk to Your Doctor About What to Expect
Every oral surgery is unique. Your dental health defines what will happen and how much sedation you will be under. Local anesthetic is a small injection in the gums, numbing only the area. However, there are several sedation options from nitrous gas sedation, pill sedation to IV sedation. Please talk to your dentist to find out which sedation options are right for you. Some sedation options you may need someone to keep you company for several hours after the surgery.
Your dentist will also be able to tell you what will happen while you’re in surgery and give any special pointers that would help you to be ready for the day and procedure ahead.
Make Sure You Have Transportation Home
If you decide to have pill sedation or IV sedation, you should not drive a vehicle afterward, which means making alternate plans to get home. Even with local anesthetic, it’s a good idea to have a ride home instead of driving yourself after a surgery experience. The best method is to have a friend or family member drive you home, then make sure you get into your house and settled into recovery safely.
Ask Loved Ones to Keep You Company after the Surgery
You may be a bit woozy or distracted after your oral surgery, so ask someone you care about to keep you company for the day or a few days afterward. If you live with family or roommates, they can help by ensuring you are safe and taken care of at home. If you live alone, open a Zoom meeting with a loved one and keep the channel open so that you can communicate casually and they can ensure your safety from a distance.
Follow Your Dentists Recommendations Regarding Medications
Before your appointment, be sure to speak to your dentist about handling any potential pain. Follow their instructions and recommendations regarding medications.
Stock Up on Ice in the Freezer
You may also want plenty of ice to chill your gums or jaw after the procedure. Swelling for most oral surgeries will go down in a few days, but the aching can be intense during that time. Ice packs and gently icing your gums can really make a difference in the pain you feel. Pick up a bag of ice or make sure your ice maker is filling the bin in the week before so you don’t run out of ice when you need it most.
Shop or Order Groceries (Soft Foods)
Make a special trip to the grocery store for soft foods. Most oral surgeries make it uncomfortable to chew crunchy or chewy foods for a few days – sometimes a few weeks – after the procedure. It is important that you heal properly so follow your dentist’s recommendations when it comes to certain foods you should and shouldn’t eat. Popular items are yogurt, canned soups, and cool jaw-chilling ice cream. Remember to stay away from anything that needs chewing, and don’t use a straw! Now is the time to indulge your love of mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, applesauce, and hummus.
If you have a food processor, you can also pick up ingredients to blend into soups or smoothies. Just be ready to do your blending before your appointment, as you may not feel up to operating the blender or stove immediately after your oral surgery.
The Day Before Your Oral Surgery
Many people are nervous the day before oral surgery. You can turn that nervous energy in a positive direction by preparing your house, yourself, and your pantry for surgery and the recovery that will immediately follow.
Arrange a Comfortable Recovery Space
Decide where your primary recovery space is going to be. You may want to build a nest on the couch or set up a television in your bedroom for the complete post-surgery experience. Find yourself somewhere that is comfortable and doesn’t require much movement to enjoy yourself. Queue up a list of movies to watch or television shows to binge so that your post-operation entertainment is easy. Pull your fluffiest bathrobe from the back of your closet and stack up the blankets and pillows for versatile lounging. You might also want to set up a TV tray for convenient recovery snacking and meals.
Prepare Soft Foods for a Few Days
With your grocery trip done, prepare soft meals for the next few days. It’s smart to set out your meals in individual servings so that you have zero prep to worry about during your recovery period. Spoon up individual cups of yogurt, mix your mashed potatoes, and set out your cans of soup.
If you plan to puree your own soups or blend your own smoothies, do that today so that all the hard work is done before you’re recovering from anesthesia. Make sure everything you want hot is microwave-ready so that no stove use is necessary. Preparing your soft meals also reduces the temptation to eat crunchy or chewy things in the week ahead.
Turbo-Clean the House
You likely won’t feel much like housework after your surgery, so use your pre-procedure energy to turbo-clean the house. Tidy, vacuum, dust, mop, and wipe down everything you can see so that the house is in the best possible state when you come home and settle into your recovery space. You’ll be free to binge-stream and enjoy your ice cream without worrying about vacuuming for the week following your surgery if the house is clean when you leave in the morning.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Put yourself to bed on time and make an effort to sleep well. Block out the light, play white noise, or use earplugs if necessary to get a deep and relaxing slumber before your oral surgery. Being well-rested can improve your mood on the big day and help with your recovery time afterward.
Please Give Our Office At Least 2 Business Days Notice For Cancellations and Rescheduling
Although we prefer everyone to keep their scheduled surgeries, we understand that life sometimes gets in the way. We do ask however, that you call our office at least 2 business days prior to your surgery so that we can give your time slot to someone else who may be needing to get in.
The Morning of Your Surgery
When you wake up the morning before your oral surgery, it’s time to get yourself ready for the procedure itself and the recovery that immediately follows. Make sure you are comfortable in a surgery-safe outfit without any accessories that need to be removed or worried about.
Brush and Floss
While you likely brush your teeth every morning, it’s always nice to start a dentist appointment with clean teeth. Since you are fasting. there’s no need to worry about brushing again after breakfast. That said: Remember not to eat breakfast – we know this is a very strong habit to break for just one day.
Skip the Contact Lenses Today
If you usually or sometimes wear contact lenses, leave them at home on the day of your oral surgery. Contacts have the potential to become irritated during the day. To avoid potential complications during or after the surgery, wear your glasses that day and take them off for the procedure. Remember to bring your glasses case for quick and safe storage of your spectacles.
Dress Comfortably for Surgery
Oral surgery day is one day when we want to see you in a t-shirt and sweat pants. Don’t wear any jewelry and dress comfortably in clothes that won’t be damaged by small stains. While your doctor will try to keep the procedure tidy, oral surgery can sometimes be a bit messy and it’s best if you don’t wear your best clothes to the appointment. It is far more important that you be comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.
Tie Back Your Hair
If you have long or full-bodied hair, tie it back for the procedure. A simple hair tie or a few clips can help ensure that your hair stays safely out of the way during the surgery for both your sake and your doctor’s.
Bring a Box or Tote Bag for Supplies and Personal Belongings
On your way out the door, grab a tote bag or a small box that will come home with you. This bag will hold your personal belongings, including any accessories you might need to remove before the procedure. Your doctor may also give you a handful of supplies to help with your recovery like oral care equipment and prescriptions to take home. If you undergo anesthesia, the tote bag will help you make sure everything gets home without doing inventory on your way out of the doctor’s office.
Arrive Early and Get Settled In
Finally, schedule your arrival for 10-15 minutes before your appointment. This gives you plenty of time to sign in, finish any paperwork, and get settled before the procedure begins. You can use some of this time to ask any lingering questions and double-check that your ride will be ready when the procedure is done.
After Your Oral Surgery
With all your prep-work, recovering is the easy part. Once your ride takes you home, you can settle into your prepared recovery nest in the couch or bed and dive into some binge-streaming. Kick your feet up and enjoy your supply of prepared soft foods. Now is the time to really enjoy a bowl of warm soup, cool ice cream, or creamy homemade smoothies. Be sure not to push yourself too hard and stay in touch with loved ones during this time so that you can safely focus all your energy on healing after the procedure.
Oral surgery is a big experience for anyone, but you can be ready for the aftermath by preparing yourself and your home beforehand. For more insights into what to expect and how to be ready for your oral surgery, contact us today.
“Absolutely outstanding service with very reasonable rates! Extremely detail-oriented, very thorough on their explanations and best of all, they do everything from cleanings to surgical procedures and braces. I would definitely recommend them to anyone.”
Reviewed by Lori Arendes