5 Things To Do After a Tooth Extraction
Let’s be honest, after a procedure of any kind, post-operative instructions go in one ear and out the other. There’s just so much going on at the time it can be hard to absorb the information. For this reason, in a recent segment of BURST tv, dental hygienist Gina reviewed five tips for after a tooth extraction. This article will outline those top five tips to alleviate pain and encourage tissue healing.
Immediately following the extraction, the dental team will provide gauze to bite down on. It is important to change out that gauze once it becomes soaked. Before changing out the gauze, hand-washing is encouraged to prevent the unnecessary introduction of bacteria to the wound. The best way to place the new gauze is to fold it in three (fold the gauze in half once and then in half again) then placing the folded gauze over the extraction site and bite down. Doing this allows a clot to form in the tooth socket a.k.a. the hole that was left behind when the tooth was removed.
Ice the area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Icing helps tremendously with healing because it helps to avoid or minimize swelling. Icing the area should begin immediately after arriving home from the procedure and continue through the first day. If some swelling is still noticeable, icing can go into the following day post-op.
Take pain medications as prescribed. Dentists will let each patient know what is recommended and how much to take. Depending on the difficulty of the extraction, often patients will only need to alternate between Advil and Tylenol every few hours for the first day and then as needed. The dentist may also prescribe a stronger pain medication if needed.
Absolute DO NOTS include: spitting, rinsing, chewing tobacco, smoking, or drinking through a straw for the first 24 hours after extraction. This is to prevent dislodging the blood clot in the extraction site. If the clot is dislodged, there is a high risk a dry socket will form which is very painful.
While on the topic of no smoking, smoking should be avoided for the first week after tooth removal because smoking slows down healing. Maybe, just maybe, this is the perfect time to quit! (wink wink)
Relax. It is important to avoid too much physical activity for the first day or two post-op. This allows the body a chance to heal and recover faster. Again, it is important not to dislodge the blood clot from the extraction site so it may heal properly.
Post-extraction Tips After Day 1 and 2
After the first day or two post-extraction, a soft diet is encouraged for the first week or two. Examples of a soft diet include: yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, smoothies, jello, milkshakes, and ice-cream. Additionally, it’s best to avoid foods that may get caught in the socket such as grains of rice or small seeds.
As always, good oral hygiene is of utmost importance. Brushing and flossing all areas of the mouth besides the extraction site should be performed. Keeping the rest of mouth clean will help the tissue heal.
In conclusion, it may take a few weeks up to a few months for the hole to completely close after a tooth extraction. However, most patients will feel back to normal after the first few days. If you have any questions, please comment those on the YouTube video linked below!