A tooth extraction is an extremely common procedure. Sometimes it’s used to remove an infected or broken tooth, while other times it’s necessary to make room for teeth in an overcrowded mouth. Many people also have their wisdom teeth extracted to avoid oral complications. Whatever the reason for having a tooth removed, afterward your dentist will provide helpful instructions to ensure that your mouth heals properly. Scroll down to learn what we recommend you do after getting a tooth extracted.
What to Do After Getting a Tooth Extracted
How to Protect the Blood Clot
The first 24 hours following a tooth extraction are crucial. During this time, it is critical that a blood clot forms on the extraction site to stop the bleeding, reduce pain, and speed up the healing process. Use the following tips to protect the blood clot and ensure that your mouth heals successfully:
- Bite on gauze firmly for 45-60 minutes following the procedure or until the bleeding has stopped.
- If bleeding persists, bite on a black tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannins in the tea will help stop the bleeding.
- Keep talking to a minimum to reduce bleeding.
- While your mouth is still numb, be careful not to chew or bite on your lip, tongue, or cheek.
- Don’t spit to avoid dislodging the blood clot.
- Don’t suck on candies or suck on a straw until the site has begun to heal (typically about 2-6 days following the procedure).
- Don’t rinse your mouth, and avoid brushing and flossing near the extraction site.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco for at least 72 hours. Also, note that smokers and diabetics tend to heal more slowly.
- Don’t sneeze or cough if possible. Keep allergy medication on hand if needed. If you do sneeze, keep your mouth open.
- Stick to calm activities. Avoid heavy lifting and workouts. Don’t overexert yourself.
- When lying down, elevate your head with pillows to reduce bleeding.
- Drink lots of fluids, but avoid hot, carbonated, and alcoholic drinks.
- Avoid hot, spicy, and/or crunchy foods at first. You can eat normally as soon as it feels comfortable to do so.
- Eat soft foods, and try not to chew near the extraction site.
- Place an ice bag over the area (outside the cheek) for 20 minutes to minimize swelling.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to avoid the pain of a dry socket. Instead, a healthy blood clot should form over the extraction site and promote healing.
Additional Tips Following Tooth Extraction
While the tips above are crucial to protecting the blood clot that forms post-procedure, there are several other things you should do after getting a tooth extraction to reduce pain and swelling and promote healthy healing. Review these tips as well:
- Continue brushing and flossing normally. Don’t use your tooth extraction as an excuse to slack off when it comes to your twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing! Keep up good oral hygiene – just be gentle when cleaning around the extraction site.
- Don’t tamper with the suture. In some extractions, a suture is placed. If you can feel a suture at the extraction site, avoid playing with it or tugging on it. It will dissolve on its own.
- Take antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist. Even if your symptoms are gone and there isn’t any sign of infection, continue taking the antibiotic for the indicated length of time.
- Apply moist hot and cold pressure. This will reduce swelling and soreness. Alternate between hot and cold pressure every 20 minutes. Typically, swelling will begin to subside after the first 48 hours.
- Rinse with warm saltwater. Rinsing with warm saltwater in the morning and evening will reduce swelling and promote healing at the extraction site.
- Use an irrigation syringe if recommended. Did your dental team provide you with an irrigation syringe? If so, use it beginning about five days after the extraction to flush debris and unwanted materials out of the extraction site.
After getting a tooth extracted, you may experience some bruising and numbness. You may also find that you’re unable to fully open your mouth after first. All of these side effects are normal and will go away. However, we urge you to call your dentist if you experience (1) heavy or increased bleeding, (2) pain or swelling that lasts beyond three to four days, or (3) an adverse reaction to prescribed medications.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns following a tooth extraction, don’t hesitate to call your dentist’s office.
Looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri? Contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!