Dentistry has, thankfully, come a long way since the days when the only cure for a toothache was the local barber sitting on your chest and pulling the tooth with the aid of nothing more than a pliers and a shot of whisky. Now, a good dentist only uses extraction as a last resort. Unfortunately, it can still be necessary for a number of reasons, from damage to overcrowding. If you or a loved one has to undergo this procedure, the right tooth extraction aftercare will help minimize the discomfort and prevent further problems. Here’s our advice.
Control the Bleeding
The first thing to do after a tooth is extracted is to control the bleeding. The dentist will place a wad of gauze over the extraction site and you should bite down on this firmly until the bleeding stops and a clot forms in the tooth socket. If this isn’t happening and the bleeding persists, replace the gauze with a teabag. Tea contains tannic acids that will help form a clot. Even after the clot forms, you might experience some slight bleeding on the first day. This is perfectly normal and no cause for concern.
Your dentist will prescribe painkillers and you should take them as directed. Driving while taking pain meds is not a good idea as they might make you feel drowsy, and if you’re taking any other medication, over-the-counter or prescribed, remember to tell your dentist about it before the procedure.
After the procedure you’ll experience some swelling and possibly bruising of your face. To minimize this, make an icepack (put ice in a plastic bag and wrap it in a thin cloth) and apply it to the swollen area for 10 minutes, then take it off for 5, and repeat as necessary.
You shouldn’t try to do too much for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Take it easy during the day and go to bed early. You’ll probably be feeling sleepy from the pain meds so this won’t be hard. Sleep with your head slightly raised.
Do’s of tooth extraction aftercare
- Do eat soft foods and snacks without salt or sugar and drink a lot of liquid.
- Do brush your teeth softly and carefully. Avoid the extraction site and don’t use toothpaste as rinsing it out of your mouth might cause it to start bleeding again.
- Do keep the tooth socket clean. After the first day, gently rinse your mouth out with a spoon of salt dissolved in a glass of water. You should do this three or four times a day for a couple of days.
Don’ts of tooth extraction aftercare
- Don’t drink with a straw. The suction caused by drinking through a straw might move the blood clot and cause bleeding.
- Don’t drink hot liquids. These can make the swelling worse.
- Don’t drink alcohol, which will slow down healing.
And if you experience any of the following, call your dentist immediately;
- Increase in pain the day after the procedure.
- Persistent bleeding.
- Worsening swelling around the extraction site.
- Any itching or rashes after you take your medication.
We hope you found the advice above useful, and following it should help you recover quickly from having your tooth pulled. Thank you for your time.