What Should Follow After a Tooth Extraction?

Jun 22, 2022 | General Dentistry

caring for a missing tooth

Since most people will experience some sort of tooth extraction in their lifetime, it’s essential to know what to expect and how to prepare. This article will cover the basics of tooth extractions, including what happens after the procedure and how to care for your wound and manage any discomfort you may experience. We hope this information helps make your experience as smooth as possible and helps to avoid further visits to the dentist in your area.

Caring for a Tooth Extraction

After tooth extraction, it’s essential to care for the extraction site properly. This will help ensure that the area heals properly and doesn’t become infected. Here are some tips for caring for your extraction site:

  • Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush. Avoid brushing near the extraction site.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water or an antiseptic mouthwash immediately after the procedure. Do this several times a day, especially after meals, to keep the area clean and free from infection. This helps reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid Spit tobacco, alcohol, and carbonated beverages for at least 24 hours.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to help with discomfort. Ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are typically effective.
  • Apply ice to the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes to reduce swelling. Repeat as needed, but do not put ice directly on your skin.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw, smoking, and eating crunchy or hard foods for at least 24 hours after the extraction. They can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the socket leading to delayed healing.

The Mouth’s Alignment

It is also essential to be aware of how your tooth extraction might affect the alignment of your teeth. If you have had a back tooth (molar) extracted, there is a chance that the teeth adjacent to the empty space may shift into the open space. This can cause problems with chewing and may also affect your appearance.

Your dentist may place a dental appliance called a space maintainer in the empty space to prevent the missing tooth to cause poor alignment. The space maintainer is a custom-made device that helps keep the teeth in their proper position until the permanent tooth erupts.

When sleeping, prop your head up with pillows to keep your head elevated and reduce swelling.

Signs of healing: In the first few days after an extraction, it’s normal to have some bleeding and swelling. The bleeding should gradually lessen, and the swelling should go down after a few days. Other signs that the extraction site is healing properly include:

  • A decrease in bleeding
  • The formation of a blood clot in the empty socket
  • Reduced pain and discomfort

When to Call Your Dentist

It is normal to experience some swelling, bruising, and bleeding after tooth extraction. However, if you experience any of the following, you should contact your dentist:

  1. If you have increasing pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter medication
  2. If you have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. If you cannot control bleeding by biting on gauze
  4. If you notice any foul smells or drainage from the extraction site
  5. If you develop new symptoms like numbness, tingling, or swelling beyond the original extraction site

4 Crucial Post-Extraction Tips

1. Watch for signs of infection:

If you have severe pain, bleeding that doesn’t stop, or pus coming from the extraction site, call your dentist right away. These symptoms may intensify or cause you to develop a fever, which could indicate an infection.

2. Keep your mouth clean:

Be sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly, even around the extraction site. This will assist in keeping the area clean and preventing infection.

tooth extractions and when to brush3. Eat soft foods:

For the first few days after an extraction, stick to soft foods like soup, pudding, and mashed potatoes. Avoid hard or crunchy foods that could irritate the extraction site.

4. See your dentist for follow-up appointments:

Your dentist will likely schedule a follow-up appointment 1-2 weeks after tooth extraction to ensure the extraction site is healing properly. They will check on the healing process at this appointment and remove any stitches if necessary.

They may also give you additional instructions on caring for the extraction site as it continues to heal.

Bottom Line

When caring for tooth extraction, following your dentist’s post-operative instructions is of utmost importance—taking care of yourself in the days and weeks after your extraction can ensure that the healing process goes as smoothly as possible. The tips above can help ensure that your tooth extraction heals appropriately and doesn’t become infected.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, or if you’re experiencing any dental problems, don’t hesitate to call us here at Briargate Dental. We’re always happy to help and we’ll guide you through every step of the way! Thank you for choosing Briargate Dental!