The First 48 Hours After Tooth Extraction
The first two days after a tooth extraction is when the most aftercare and attention is needed. Here are some tips to make the most of this time:
- Leave the gauze your dentist placed in your mouth for a few hours to allow the blood clot to form. Then you can change it as often as needed.
- Rest for at least 24 hours after the extraction.
- Raise your head slightly when lying down.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth right away, as it can dislodge the clot that's forming, affecting your healing time.
- Avoid drinking with a straw and spitting.
- Avoid hot liquids and or alcohol.
- If possible, avoid blowing your nose and sneezing.
- Don't smoke or use any tobacco products for at least three days following the procedure.
- Take pain relievers as prescribed. They can also reduce inflammation.
- Reduce or minimize swelling with an ice pack on your cheek for 10-20 minutes at a time.
Day 3 And Beyond
Once your blood clot has formed, take these simple precautions to prevent other issues until your gum has healed completely:
- Rinse your mouth with a saline rinse or warm salt water to kill bacteria.
- Continue regular brushing and using water flossers or interdental brushes, but avoid cleaning the teeth next to the extracted tooth.
- Eat soft, healthy foods and snacks that don't require a lot of chewing, like soups, yogurts, and similar foods. Avoid foods like nuts, hard candy, steak, and chewing on ice.
What Are Some Recovery Concerns?
If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your dental professional:
- If pain after your tooth extraction increases rather than decreases.
- If gum swelling after your tooth extraction gets worse with time.
- If your blood does not clot and your bleeding does not improve (a condition called dry socket).
- If you experience a high fever, nausea, or vomiting.
- If you have severe pain that spreads to the ear.
- Or if you have drainage from the wound that tastes or smells foul.
Learn about dry socket prevention.
According to a study published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, caries and periodontal disease were the most common causes of extraction in their study population. Thankfully these conditions are preventable by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, and don't forget to brush your tongue. Consider using other helpful products like an antimicrobial mouthrinse and tongue scrapers. And be sure to see your dental professional for regular appointments. By visiting your dental professional regularly, you are better positioned to catch adverse effects on your teeth early so you can prevent avoidable extractions.
Recovery time and healing differ for everyone, but now you should be better prepared for what you can expect after your procedure. Ask your dental professional if you have any questions – they're certain to give you the best aftercare advice for your specific needs. With an experienced dental professional and some good self-care after your procedure, the next time you hear "It's like pulling a tooth!" you may respond, "So it's not that bad?" In fact, it may just make you smile.