Recovery Tips for Bouncing Back After a Tooth Extraction
Undergoing a tooth extraction can be daunting for many. However, the recovery process can be smooth and relatively pain-free with the right aftercare steps. If you’ve recently had a tooth extraction or are planning on having one soon, here are some expert recovery tips for bouncing back after a tooth extraction.
When Would You Need a Tooth Extraction?
Removal might be the only acceptable method if your tooth has been badly damaged and cannot be repaired. At Carmichael Dentistry, we would recommend a tooth extraction when a patient has:
- severe tooth decay
- a fractured tooth
- crowded teeth
- severe gum disease
- tooth luxation or other dental injuries
What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?
First, local anesthesia is given to numb your affected tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. Next, your dentist will gently loosen your tooth and carefully lift it from its socket. There are instances when an incision in your gums might be needed to access your tooth — especially if your tooth is badly decayed or has broken at the gum line. Once your tooth is removed, the socket is cleaned and disinfected. Sometimes, your dentist may need to place a dental bone graft to prevent bone loss in your jaw. Finally, stitches may be placed to help promote healing.
Bite Down on the Gauze:
Immediately after the extraction, a piece of gauze will be placed over the extraction site. Bite down gently but firmly to reduce bleeding and to allow a clot to form.
Take it easy for at least 24-48 hours after the procedure. Your body heals the best when at rest. Avoid strenuous activities and, if possible, take a day or two off of work.
Ice, Ice Baby
Use a cold pack on your cheek intermittently (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) to reduce swelling. This is most effective in the first 24 hours after the procedure.
Stick to Soft Foods
Choose to eat foods like yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, and soups for the first few days. They’re gentle on the extraction site and require minimal chewing.
Keep Your Head Elevated
Use an extra pillow to keep your head slightly elevated when lying down. Elevation can help reduce any potential swelling.
Say No to Straws
Using a straw can dislodge the blood clot formed in the extraction site, leading to a painful condition known as a dry socket. Avoid straws for at least a week post-surgery.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
While you should steer clear of directly brushing the surgical site for a day or two, keep the rest of your mouth clean. Starting the day after surgery, gently rinse with warm salt water several times daily to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
Be Cautious with Medications
Your dentist may prescribe pain relievers or suggest over-the-counter options. Take as directed, and be cautious of potential side effects.
Monitor for Any Signs of Infection
While rare, infections can happen. Contact your dentist immediately if you notice increased swelling, persistent pain, fever, or any discharge from the extraction site.
Take Care of Your Dental Needs with Carmichael Dentistry
While not the most pleasant experience, a tooth extraction doesn’t have to be a prolonged ordeal. You can be on your way to a swift and comfortable recovery with the proper aftercare steps. At Carmichael Dentistry, tooth extractions are just one of our many services for patients. We are here to help you achieve top-notch oral health and always provide procedure aftercare guidelines to ensure you get the smile you want. Call us at (858) 358-6130 to request a dental consultation, or click here.