Care Checklist After Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is often necessary to remove a tooth that is impacted. An impacted tooth is one that cannot break completely through the gum line. This is a common problem with wisdom teeth. If these teeth are left alone, they can develop tooth decay and cause gum infections.
You might also need an extraction to prepare for dentures or implants. Removing a tooth that is too decayed or broken for repair paves the way for better oral health.
We often recommend that people prep for an extraction by following healthy lifestyle habits before their appointment. Get a good night’s rest and avoid tobacco and alcohol before your oral surgery. Then, follow this aftercare checklist to begin the process of healing.
Arrange For a Safe Ride Home
Sedation dentistry makes tooth extractions comfortable. Conscious sedation allows you to be awake for the procedure, but most people remember very little of what happened.
General and conscious sedation can have lingering effects that make it unsafe to drive until they wear off. Plan to have someone wait during the procedure so that you get home safe.
Plan to Rest the First Day
Patients often like to squeeze dental appointments in during their workday. This works for treatments such as tooth whitening but an extraction is different. This procedure puts stress on your body that requires time to recover from.
You might also have some bleeding and swelling that occurs during the first several hours after an extraction. If possible, go home and spend some time resting. You’ll give your body a jump start on healing that is noticeable the next day.
Keep the Gauze in Place
After a tooth extraction, there is some blood loss. We’ll place gauze at the extraction site to control the bleeding. This helps a blood clot to form that protects the bone and nerves in the socket.
You’ll need to leave the gauze in place for three to four hours after the procedure. You can replace the gauze with a fresh piece as required.
Follow the Medication Recommendations
Many people sail through their recovery with only the need for mild pain relievers such as acetaminophen. Others need stronger prescription pain medications or antibiotics.
We prescribe medications to prevent pain and infections. Certain medications also help with swelling and inflammation. Following our recommendations enables you to avoid post-extraction complications.
Protect the Blood Clot
Dry socket is the most common complication that patients face after an extraction. This painful condition occurs if the blood clot does not develop or if it gets displaced from the socket.
To keep the clot in place, abstain from smoking or drinking from straws for the first one to three days.
Start Soft With Food
You’ll be able to resume eating as soon as you feel comfortable enough to try. Soft foods, such as soup, pudding, and yogurt, are the best options to try first. As your mouth heals, you can gradually add more solid foods to your diet.
Use Care With Oral Hygiene
You’ll still be able to brush and floss your teeth as usual after the first day. Just be careful to avoid the extraction site. Rinsing and spitting should also be avoided for the first 24 hours after the extraction to prevent dry socket.
The extraction site can take a week or two to heal. During that time, be sure to reach out with any questions or concerns you have along the way. We can check for infection and offer suggestions for pain management. Working together as a team helps you enjoy a faster recovery.