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Tooth extraction aftercare: Do’s and don’ts

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Tooth extraction

Tooth extraction is sometimes unavoidable for adults. The reason could be tooth decay or infection, gum disease, tooth damage due to some kind of trauma or crowded teeth. Whatever the reason, it does not heal in a day. You have to take proper medication and the necessary tooth extraction aftercare for your wound to heal properly, otherwise you may have trouble with it for quite some time.

Guide to tooth extraction aftercare

Find-a-DentistAfter your tooth has been extracted, your dentist/oral surgeon will place a piece of gauze to soak and stop the bleeding. Sometimes, some stitches are also required.  Once you reach home, you have to take the proper tooth extraction aftercare, and follow all the do’s and don’tsso that it heals in 7-10 days. You have to take care to keep in place the blood clot which forms after extraction at the site.

You probably will have swelling, soreness, pain and discomfort. Painkillers will reduce the symptoms. If your swelling, pain and discomfort does not go down in 2-3 days after the extraction, then you should call up your dentist and inform him. If the pain becomes worse after several days, then you should visit the dentist so that he can make sure that your extraction site has not been infected.

After tooth extraction

Do’s

1.     Take only prescribed painkillers

Take only prescribed painkillersThe pain after a tooth extraction is excruciating to say the least. It makes you debilitated and you crave for something to make the pain go away. But the best tooth extraction aftercare is to take the painkilling medication prescribed by your dentist or surgeon, in the dosage they have mentioned.

If you still do not get any relief, you should contact your dentist/surgeon who might increase the dosage or change the medication. You should never increase dosage or change medication by yourself, as it could be dangerous for your health.

2.     Put an ice pack

An ice pack will relieve the pain and help to reduce the bleeding. But apply the ice pack only for about 10 minutes at one go, as more than that time might cause tissue damage.

3.     Rest

take complete rest

As part of your tooth extraction aftercare, you have to rest for 24 hours and take care not to do any strenuous activity. You should avoid bending and heavy lifting etc.

4.     Rinse

Rinse with a salt solution made by mixing half teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water, after 1 day/24 hours.

5.     Sleep properly

Get Enough sleepProp the head with pillows when sleeping, because lying flat might prolong healing.

6.     Brush teeth regularly

Do brush your teeth after the extraction, as this will help to prevent any infection, but do not brush your extraction site. Brushing teeth is an essential part of tooth extraction aftercare.

Don’ts

1.     Do not remove the gauze pad

DentistThe gauze pad should be kept in the place the dentist put it, so that the clot is not disturbed. You should leave it for 3-4 hours after the extraction. If the gauze has to be changed due to excess bleeding, then change it carefully so that blood clot stays in place.

2.     Don’t spit/rinse for about 24 hours

Spitting and rinsing might dislodge blood clot which might create complications. Do not use a straw too, as it might lead to ‘dry socket’.

3.     No smoking

Quit Smoking

You have to follow the do’s and don’ts of the tooth extraction aftercare in order to heal well. One of the don’ts is never to imbibe any kind of tobacco products, for at least a day after. Smoking cigarettes or pipe etc can cause ‘dry socket’ too, which is a terribly painful inflammation.

4.     Don’t use aspirin

It’s best to avoid aspirin after removing your tooth, as it can cause bleeding, for about 24 hours. You might consult your dentist before consuming aspirin.

5.     Don’t drink alcohol or use mouthwash

mouthwashAlcohol is best avoided as it might interfere with the medicines. Using mouthwash might disturb the blood clot so it’s better not to use mouthwash too.

6.     What to eat after tooth extraction

Apart from the medication and other precautions, you have to be careful about the food you have to eat after the procedure. You can start your regular diet in about 1-2 weeks depending on the healing stage. New gum tissue and bone will grow over extraction site and might cause changes in your bite.

7.     Foods to eat

Ice CreamsThe best foods to eat are soft foods. Start with ice cream, as the cold will numb the pain. Then continue with soup (not very hot), pudding, applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, mashed rice and so on. Milkshakes, smoothies, pureed fruit (seedless), broths, mashed banana, mashed beans, mashed sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, soft cheese.

Add fruits to milk to have a filling meal. Yogurt and fruit too can be used to make a smoothie which can replace a meal. Make in large quantities so that you can store and eat for a few times at least. Soups, milkshakes and fiber are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and flavor which would help in giving your strength and you will heal faster.

You should be careful about the foods to eat and not to eat, to heal quickly.

Food you should avoid

You should avoid eating all those items which are hard. Avoid storebought milkshakes and smoothies as these have too much sugar.

Foods which are advised not to eat are corn, popcorn chips, even raw salads which you have to chew. Hard food and food which can get stuck in the extraction site should be avoided. Peppercorns, small seeds, spicy food and acidic food. Avoiding acidic food will help to eat easily.

Avoid drinking milkshakes and smoothies with a straw, and use a spoon instead. You should call the dentist if you have fever or get the chills. If there is excessive bleeding even after 4 hours after the procedure, vomiting, severe nausea, redness, swelling, cough and being short of breath are signs that you cannot ignore, and have to let your dentist know as soon as you can.