Tooth Extraction: Care
Most people experience few side effects or complications following a simple tooth extraction. However, you should be aware of the proper way to care for your mouth following the procedure. Doing so will ensure you make a full recovery quickly, If you have questions, though, don’t hesitate to call us for clarification.
What to Expect
In the first 48 hours following extraction, expect some swelling, bleeding and mild pain. You can usually alleviate these symptoms with at-home care.
Things To Do
- Bite down firmly on a piece of fresh gauze to lessen bleeding and oozing.
- If bleeding becomes severe, make certain the gauze is pressing against the area of the extracted tooth, not between your gum and cheek. If bleeding doesn’t stop, try biting on a damp tea bag that’s wrapped in a piece of gauze. If heavy bleeding persists, please call our office at 863-665-8878.
- To lessen swelling, use an ice pack during the first 24 to 48 hours following extraction. A bag of ice wrapped in a towel or even a bag of frozen peas. Apply the pack firmly to your face or cheek adjacent to the extraction. Apply for 20 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes.
- After 48 hours, and when the swelling has dissipated, use heat to speed healing. Press a warm compress to your face or cheek for 20 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes.
- Take pain medication for discomfort, but know that it can take up to an hour for the medication to be fully absorbed into your system. If you take a pain pill while you can still feel the effects of the local anesthesia, you’ll be more comfortable immediately following extraction. Take over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Advil, or use the prescription medications ordered by our office.
- If you experience nausea, try eating soft food and drinking plenty of water before taking a pain pill. You can also try drinking a soft drink that’s been stirred to remove carbonation. If nausea persists, call our office – we can order an anti-nausea medication or change your pain medication.
- Rinse your mouth using one-quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Use the entire glassful, a little at a time. Repeat at least two or three times daily for the five days following extraction.
Things To Avoid
- Don’t smoke for 48 hours.
- Don’t drink through a straw as this will increase bleeding.
- Don’t spit excessively.
- Don’t brush your teeth vigorously.
- Don’t touch the area with your fingers or a foreign object.
Dry Sockets and Infection
After the third day, you should begin to markedly improve. However, if you experience severe, persistent throbbing pain in your jaw, you could have a dry socket. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot from the socket is lost. The pain may radiate toward your ear or into your other teeth. If you suspect this is happening, call our office so we can help.
Infections are usually rare following tooth extraction, but it can happen if food gets trapped beneath the gum. Signs of infection can even occur in the months following an extraction. If you experience swelling outside the first 48 hours, call our office immediately and speak with one of our oral surgeons.
These instructions will help you care for your mouth after an extraction, but if you have questions about your progress, feel free to call our office. A 24-hour answering service is available for after-hours contact with a doctor, but calling during office hours will ensure a faster response.