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Your perfect smile is a click away!

How to practice self-care after a tooth extraction

Tooth extraction, or tooth removal, is performed when there is excessive tooth decay,  a severe tooth infection, or overcrowding of the teeth in the mouth. Additionally, many teens and adults opt to remove wisdom teeth because of toothaches. Performed by a dentist or oral surgeon, tooth extraction is a well-tolerated outpatient procedure. 

During the procedure, local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or a combination of both is used to prevent pain. The local anesthesia provides a numbing effect. General anesthesia can be performed for those who need more pain control or those who have dental anxiety. 

The complexity of the extraction process depends on where the tooth is located—a visible tooth extraction may be a less involved procedure than the removal of teeth that are below the gums, known as an impacted tooth. 

Healing after extraction usually occurs in 3-7 days, depending on the location of the tooth(impacted or visible) and the severity of the tooth decay. To reduce pain, prevent the infection, and keep the blood clot in the tooth socket, you must follow specific instructions that aid fast healing.

Here are nine aftercare instructions you must follow to speed up healing time and have a successful recovery: 

Ice pack

Apply an ice pack gently to the affected area immediately after the procedure to reduce swelling. Use the ice pack for only 5-10 minutes at a time to prevent cold injury to the skin and gums. 

Take your prescriptions as instructed by your doctor

Follow the instructions your doctor gives you about your medications (pain medication, anti-inflammatories, or antibiotics) after surgery. You should take your antibiotics for the entire course and follow the prescription instructions. Check with your doctor if you have any questions.

Leave the Gauze pad

Bite down on the gauze pad your doctor places on the bleeding area. This helps control bleeding and promote clot formation. Try to keep the gauze pad in place for 3 to 4 hours after the procedure. 

Rest and relax

After extraction, make sure to relax and rest for the next 24 hours. Limit your physical activities for at least 48 hours after the procedure. While sleeping, try to prop your head up on a pillow for support and to help with healing. Lying flat can delay the healing process and result in more facial swelling.

Avoid aggressive oral are

Do not rinse excessively or spit for the next 24 hours to avoid dislodging the blood clot from its socket position. Likewise, avoid the usage of straw for the next 24 hours.

No smoking

Smoking significantly slows down recovery and can lead to complications after the procedure. It is best for your overall health to quit smoking, but if you are unable to,   avoid smoking for at least 3 to 5 days after tooth extraction.

Rinse after 24 hours

Rinse your mouth with saltwater after 24 hours.  You can do this 3-4 times a day by adding half a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water.

Brush and floss

Continue brushing and flossing your teeth normally to prevent infection. Be gentle around the extraction site because you do not want to dislodge the clot. 

Change your diet

You should avoid eating solid foods for the next 24 hours. You should eat soft foods like milkshakes, pudding, soup, and yogurt immediately after extraction. 

Stay away from chewy foods, crunchy snacks, and spicy ingredients. Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Once you start to feel better, you can start eating solid but healthy foods, preferably after 5 to 7 days of tooth extraction. 

About Premier Oral Surgery

At Premier Oral Surgery, we aim to provide the most advanced and comprehensive oral care. We specialize in providing several kinds of oral and maxillofacial surgeries and treatments, such as wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, IV sedation, and bone grafts. In addition, our staff includes CPR-certified oral and maxillofacial surgical assistants. To know more, you can leave us a message or call us at 203-939-9390. You can also get in touch by email at info@premieroralsurgeryct.com.

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