Managing Wellness

Getting Back to Work After Oral Surgery

  • As an employer, you want to encourage employees to get the treatment they need and ease their mind about the job while they recover
  • Most dentists and oral surgeons recommend having surgery procedures done on Fridays because there is a two-day weekend to recuperate
  • Post-operative instructions help ease pain, promote healing and prevent after-surgery complications, like dry socket
Posted by March 22, 2019

Have your employees avoided scheduling oral surgery because they’re concerned about taking time away from work? As an employer, you want to not only do encourage employees to get the treatment they need but also ease their mind about the job while they recover. Here’s important information that can assist employees when planning their surgery and help them manage their job duties while on the mend.


All employees look forward to Friday — that is unless they’re having dental surgery. However, this is the day of the week most dentists and oral surgeons recommend for surgery appointments because there is a two-day weekend to recuperate. And in many cases, this may be all the time anyone needs.

But, the length of time a dentist feels is necessary before heading back to work is an estimate, according to Fort Worth dentist, Dr. Nikki Green. She explains that recovery time is dependent on the following factors:

  • The type of surgery
  • The person’s current medical condition
  • How well they follow post-surgery instructions and take prescribed medication
  • Whether or not they experience complications

Simple Extractions

Extractions are a common type of oral surgery procedure. If the tooth removed is above the gum line, it is called a simple extraction, and like its name, it is a relatively simple procedure just requiring local anesthesia. Returning to work in a day or two is usually the norm; however, recovery may be a bit longer if multiple teeth are extracted.

Complex Extractions

Extractions are considered complex when the tooth is broken below the gum line. This is usually due to extensive decay or trauma, or occasionally a tooth breaks during surgery. And, because the dentist needs to make an incision to remove the roots, recuperation time can vary from a few days to a week.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Third molars, aka wisdom teeth, appear during the late teens, but are so far back in the mouth that they often cannot erupt properly. This is so common that the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons says that 90 percent of people have at least one wisdom tooth that is impacted. Dentists frequently recommend their removal because they can become infected, cause gum problems or damage neighboring teeth.

While millions of people have their wisdom teeth extracted each year, the Academy of General Dentistry explains that even though these are more difficult extractions, almost everyone heals without problems and is back in commission within a few days. However, one common complication that can extend recovery time is a dry socket.

A dry socket comes about when the blood clot, beginning to form in the area of the extraction, becomes dislodged or dissolves, leaving bone and nerve endings exposed. This is a painful condition that the oral surgeon will need to treat right away.

Dental Implants

Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is a popular option, and like other types of oral surgery, recuperation time can be different for each patient. But because the majority of implant surgeries are minimally invasive, implant experts say that most of their patients resume normal activities and return to work within a day or two.

Taking Care of Business

When you have an employee whose dentist advises scheduling an oral-surgery appointment, they should let their supervisor or manager know as far in advance as possible. This way they can plan together on how to lessen the impact of their absence. It may be that they just need a Friday off, but if the procedure requires a longer recuperation time, some of their work may need to be dispersed among other employees or perhaps there is a project they can easily work on from home.

For anyone who wants to quickly return to a normal routine at home and at work, here’s the most important piece of advice: Follow the post-operative instructions … verbatim! These directives help ease pain, promote healing and prevent after-surgery complications, like dry socket. Your employee should call the surgeon immediately if they experience any unusual discomfort or bleeding. And always let them know that while they are home getting better, you have their back here at work.

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