The Basics of Tooth Extraction

What should you expect when you are scheduled for a tooth extraction?

When having an extraction, today's modern procedures and follow up care as recommended by your dentist are there to provide you the patient great benefit and comfort.

Your dentist will numb the area to lessen any discomfort. After the extraction, your dentist will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow, in most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal.

Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. It is usually best not to smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw, for 24 hours. These activities could dislodge the clot and delay healing.

For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently afterward, for pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. Ask your dentist about pain medication. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual. But don't clean the teeth next to the tooth socket.

Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a condition that sometimes occurs after a tooth is extracted. When the socket is slow to heal, the condition can be very painful for three to five days or so.

Your dentist's treatment may include cleaning the site and placing a medicated dressing in the socket, which helps provide relief of pain. The dentist may change the dressing daily until the pain diminishes and the socket begins to heal. The dentist may recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or prescribe other pain relievers.

Cigarette smoking or other tobacco use can delay healing and should be avoided.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

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