Getting plenty of vitamin C is one way oral surgery patients can ensure timely recovery. Patients who neglect nutrition might be tacking extra days onto their recovery time, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
Deficiencies of vitamin C have been shown to significantly slow the healing process. AGD spokesperson Ludi Leibson, DDS, says he sometimes gives oral surgery patients high doses of vitamin C and multi-vitamin supplements before surgery.
A patient's diet is crucial because adequate and appropriate vitamins, minerals, fats and protein are essential for the growth and regeneration of normal tissues.
"You're going to delay the healing process and increase the possibility of infection if you're not getting the proper nutrients," says Dr. Leibson.
Nutrients function individually as well as cooperatively in the healing process. The energy needed for tissue maintenance and repair is supplied by carbohydrates, fat and protein. Along with vitamin C, vitamins A, E, B, K and D are all integral to the healing process and a speedier recovery time. For example, vitamin A significantly contributes to healing by reducing the inflammatory period of tissue repair.
If you are severely underweight or overweight, have recently lost weight, suffer from an acute or chronic disease or take medications such as steroids, immunosuppressants or chemotherapeutic agents, your nutrition status may negatively affect recovery from oral surgery. Dr. Leibson says he rarely sees patients who are malnourished, but that if someone is nutritionally compromised they should consider delaying oral surgery until they are no longer at risk.
Reviewed: January 2012