Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it normal to develop a low-grade fever after oral surgery?"
I think I have a slight fever. I had oral surgery two days ago. Other than the slight increase in body temperature, I feel fine. Should I be concerned?
Having a fever is always something to be concerned about after any surgery. But having a low grade fever after surgery is also very common. Most of the time it is due to something that is not very serious, but the problem lies in the fact that occasionally having a low grade fever after surgery is an early sign of something serious like an infection. That is why it is important to contact your surgeon. One of the reasons that having a low grade fever after surgery is so common, is that the process of healing a wound is very similar to the process of fighting an infection. Both processes involve immune cells traveling to a given area and talking to each other by releasing chemicals, so both wound healing and infection have the potential to cause fevers. So this is the central question, is your fever due to the fact that you are healing, or is it a sign that an infection is developing. Sometimes there are symptoms that may give you a clue that an infection is developing, like increasing pain and drainage from your surgical wound, but often patients have none of these symptoms early in the course of an infection. In the case of oral surgery, it can be difficult to look in your mouth to see if there are any signs of infection. Anyone who has a fever after surgery, even dental procedures, should call their surgeon as soon as possible to see if they need to come for an appointment to fully evaluate whether an infection is developing. If you develop a high fever, confusion, increasing pain, or increased drainage from the surgical site, have someone drive you to the hospital as soon as possible.
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