After Tooth Extractions
When you’ve had a tooth removed, you need to take care of your mouth. Doing certain things, even on the first day, may help you feel better sooner and heal faster. Here are some of those things:
It is not uncommon to have bleeding last several hours or even restart later today or tomorrow as oozing. To help control bleeding, bite firmly on the gauze we placed for an hour. The pressure helps to form a blood clot. Bite on the gauze until the bleeding stops. If bleeding continues, wet a tea bag and bite on it for an hour. The tannic acid in the tea aids in forming a blood clot. If bleeding is excessive after trying the tea bag, call the office immediately.
The greatest amount of discomfort is in the first 6 to 8 hours. Take 800 mg of ibuprofen (i.e. Advil, Motrin, etc.) immediately following the procedure and then take two Tylenol Extra Strength 4 hours later. Repeat the ibuprofen 4 hours after that and continue alternating the two for 24 hours. DO NOT take pain medication on an empty stomach. If pain persists for 3 to 4 days, call the office.
To reduce swelling, put an ice pack on your cheek near the extraction site. You can make an ice pack by putting ice in a plastic bag and wrapping it in a thin towel. Apply the ice pack to your cheek for 10 minutes. Then, remove it for 10 minutes. Repeat as needed. You may see some bruising on your face. This is normal and will go away on its own. Moist heat after 24 hours will help relieve jaw soreness and reduces stiffness.
Rinsing and Brushing
Spitting or rinsing today will cause more bleeding so be careful to avoid both. Tomorrow, begin using a saltwater rinse after eating. Rinse gently (not vigorously) at first. Use one teaspoon of salt with 8 oz. of warm water. Good oral hygiene is important. Brush the other areas of your mouth starting tonight. After a few days, you can begin gently brushing over the surgical site. Remember, a clean mouth heals faster.
Limit activities for the first 24 hours after an extraction. Rest during the day and go to bed early. When lying down, elevate your head slightly.
Eating While You Heal
Eating right will help you heal faster after your tooth extraction. Eat regular meals as soon as you can after surgery. Start with soft, room temperature foods and liquids that are high in nutrients. Move onto solid foods and cut foods into small pieces to ease chewing. Limit chewing and chew on the other side of your mouth. Avoid crunchy or sticky foods.
CAUTION: DRY SOCKET
Though the cause is unknown, a percentage of dental extractions are followed by a clinical condition known as a “dry socket.” Symptoms, which begin 2 to 3 day following extraction, include loss of blood clot from the socket and moderated to severe pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, call our office.
Avoiding a Dry Socket
Protection of the blood clot is essential for proper healing. Do not drink through a straw as it may dislodge the clot. Avoid alcoholic beverages. DO NOT SMOKE UNTIL HEALING IS WELL ESTABLISHED, usually a few days. Smoking or alcohol increases the chance of a dry socket by four times. Do not pick at the surgical area. Small sharp bone fragments my work up through the gums during healing- these are not roots. If annoying, return to the office for their simple removal.
Call the office if:
- Pain becomes more severe the day after your extraction or swelling around the extraction site worsens.
- Bleeding becomes hard to control (slight oozing of blood on the first day is normal).
- Itching or rashes occur after you take medication.