Reducing Postoperative Infections

We are finally in a world where many hospitals are making an effort to be labelled as post operative infection free. Although mainly this is a thing in the surgeries dealing with colon and gastrointestinal surgery, it is an idea that can and should spread to oral surgeries as well. This is because the oral cavity is particularly at risk of contracting an infection, as most of the bacteria that live in the intestines get there by way of the mouth. This being said, it is important to note that postoperative infections in oral surgery are relatively low (between 2 and 5.6%). 

Here is what you can do to do your part and make sure you do not get an infection once you leave the surgery.

The Bloodclot

If you have had an extraction, a dental implant, or a section of your gums remove,d you will start to develop a bloodclot. When this happens, do not remove it. The bloodclot is necessary for the area below it to heal, and if you remove it, intense pain can be expected.


To be sure that you do not get an infection of any sorts, a course of medication will be prescribed. Usually the antibiotic amoxicillin, combined with clavulanic acid is plenty enough to treat and prevent any infections that may be around. The most important thing is to start taking the medication 24 hours before your oral surgery appointment. 


It is also important that you follow the guidelines given for postoperative patients. NO smoking, regardless of your cravings, and no sugary foods or dairy products allowed. The bloodclot must also remain undisturbed, so eat in a way that goes around the bloodclot. Rinse thoroughly with mouthwash after eating, but make sure that the bloodclot does not become dislodged. 


Before surgery, make sure that the area that will be treated is as clean as possible, and that no food detritus, infections or sores are around the area. If you have crowns, it may be a good idea for your dentist to remove them and disinfect them, along with the abutments that the may be placed on, this way making sure that there are no latent infections around in your mouth before your operation. This may include checking your tonsils as well as your sinuses, as infections in the sinuses can get into an open wound left by oral surgery (called a surgical site), particularly in the case of a sinus lift. 

If you keep these guidelines though, you probably will not have an infection, but as you may have an undetected infection in your periodontium, or a host of other unforeseen things, we cannot be sure.