Tooth Extraction Procedure Recovery Process
Tooth extraction is a common procedure involving completely removing a tooth from the mouth. Extractions of permanent teeth are often considered a last resort and are necessary due to periodontal disease, tooth decay, dental trauma, overcrowding. It’s usually best to preserve baby teeth as well, but in some circumstances, significantly decayed, damaged or infected baby teeth may be pulled as well. Knowing how to properly care for the dental extraction area will help make the tooth extraction recovery more comfortable.
Without proper care, you risk infection or reinfection or a case of dry socket (a painful condition that leaves the bone and nerves exposed). Here are some tooth extraction aftercare tips and information on what you need to do following a tooth removal to ensure you have a successful recovery period and prevent any complications.
What to Expect After Tooth Extractions
- Bleeding: You can expect a small amount of bleeding for up to 24 hours after your tooth extraction. Don’t do anything to disturb or dislodge the blood clot that forms in the tooth socket where your tooth used to be.
- Swelling: You will also likely experience some swelling after your tooth extraction. Use ice packs to the outside of your mouth intermittently (intervals of 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off) for the first two days to minimize swelling, bruising, or any discomfort. On the third day, use warm, moist compresses rather than ice to bring the swelling down quicker.
- Pain: As your mouth heals from your extraction, you will also experience some pain and discomfort. To lessen any pain, take any prescribed medicine as directed, in most cases however OTC analgesics (e.g. ibuprofen or Tylenol) are sufficient. Your doctor will let you know the quantity and frequency. Don’t drive while taking any prescription pain medicine, as you may feel drowsy.
Oral Hygiene After Tooth Removal
Much of the aftercare in the first couple of days after a tooth extraction focuses on caring for the mouth in general and allowing a blood clot to form. You can brush and floss your teeth as usual, but avoid rinsing or swishing as this can dislodge any clot that is forming and affect the healing time.
Caring for the Area
- AVOID SMOKING: Smoking will significantly increase the risk of clot dislodgement and incidence of dry socket
- Sutures: If you have received sutures, avoid playing with them. Most sutures placed will dissolve on their own however in some instances You may need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist in 7-10 days to remove your sutures if they don’t dissolve.
- Take antibiotics as prescribed: If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed until you finish, even if you feel like you’re healed. Do not quit halfway as this will increase your risk of infection.
- What to eat: During the healing process, you’ll want to eat soft foods such as soup, pudding, applesauce, yogurt, and smoothies, but don’t use a straw. As your extraction site heals, you can incorporate more solid foods into your diet, but it’s recommended to continue with a soft foods diet for a week after your tooth extraction.
- Limit Activity: For the first 24 hours, you should rest and relax with no physical activity. You may resume your normal activities once you’re no longer taking the prescribed narcotic medication.
Importance of Tooth Removal Aftercare
After tooth extraction, proper aftercare is vital, as it helps promote clotting and protect the extraction site during the healing process. If you think you may need a tooth extraction in Portland, ME, don’t hesitate to contact Thrive Dental Studio to schedule an appointment. We will evaluate your needs, Dr. Figueiredo and our experienced team are here to help you find the right course of treatment for your specific situation.