Tooth extraction is a serious surgical procedure that demands appropriate aftercare. Failure to follow your dentist’s aftercare advice can lead to painful complications, significantly increasing the time to recover completely.
Effective tooth extraction aftercare can alleviate the pain, reduce the risk of complications, and ensure speedy recovery.
If you have been advised tooth extraction, the following four effective aftercare tips will help reduce the discomfort and the risk of the complications associated with it.
Always Keep Your Dentist in the Loop
Pain is fairly common after tooth extraction and lasts nearly a week to ten days. Keep your dentist informed about your post-extraction experience and unusual occurrences that are getting in the way of your normal life.
Though most symptoms following a tooth extraction subside within a week, it is important to watch out for unusual signs such as prolonged bleeding, fever, abnormal sense of touch, difficulty in chewing, allergies, bad taste in the mouth, or any sharp tooth fragments poking through the surgery site.
Take Care of the Blood Clot
Dry socket is one of the most painful complications of tooth extraction, which occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site fails to develop, dissolves, or dislodges. This blood clot serves as a protective layer for the underlying bone tissue and the adjoining nerves, thereby protecting the area from bacteria and food debris. Moreover, this clot is the foundation for the development of new tissue and bone at the site of extraction. Use the following tips to take good care of the blood clot, prevent dry socket, and accelerate the healing process.
Avoid Drinking Straws
The sucking movement caused by the cheek muscles when using a straw to have a drink may dislodge the clot, thereby leading to a dry socket. Hence, avoid using straws for nearly one week after the tooth extraction.
Maintain Pressure on the Gauze Pad
After the tooth extraction procedure is completed, the dentist will place a damp gauze pad at the site to protect the wound and encourage clotting. Lightly bite on this gauze pad at regular intervals until the bleeding reduces. This simple action can encourage clot formation.
Do Not Rinse Your Mouth for 48 hours
Though rinsing helps clean the mouth, this is not a good time to engage in forceful rinsing as it may dislodge the blood clot. Avoid rinsing or spitting vigorously for 24 hours after the tooth extraction procedure. After 24 hours, gentle rinsing with a saline solution or an anti-bacterial mouthwash prescribed by your dentist is advisable.
Stay Away from Cigarettes and Alcohol
Avoid smoking as it is a form of sucking, thereby increasing the risk of a dry socket and delayed recovery. Moreover, research has proven that the carcinogenic chemicals in the fumes hinder the healing process and increase the risk of infections. If quitting cigarettes is a challenge for you, talk to your dentist about when you can resume smoking or switch to nicotine patches.
Avoid mixing alcohol with medicines as it can dislodge or dissolve the blood clot and cause complex problems beyond your oral cavity, thereby retarding the healing process.
Take It Easy
Strenuous activities like bending, lifting, and exercising can result in increased bleeding, impeding the process of clot formation. Avoid rigorous activities for four to five days following the surgery.
Manage Pain Effectively
Once the anesthetic effect wears off, it is normal to feel some pain and uneasiness around the extraction site. The trick is to avoid waiting for the pain to worsen. In order to get the best pain relief possible, take the pain medications as prescribed by your dentist and don’t wait until the discomfort starts. If your prescription says that the pain medication is to be taken every four hours for the first 48 hours, adhere to it even if the pain hasn’t started or is bearable. Placing ice packs or cold towels on the outside of your face can help alleviate the pain and swelling immediately after the extraction.
Avoid taking pain medications on an empty stomach as it increases the risk of acidity, indigestion, and nausea. Though you may not feel like eating after a post a tooth extraction, make sure you consume some semi-solid food, such as applesauce, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and fruit yogurt to avoid drug-induced nausea.
Reduce the Risk of Infections
Any surgical procedure is accompanied by an increased risk of infection. Infection in the extraction site can lead to pain, bad taste in the mouth, and foul breath. Use the following tips to ensure quick and infection-free healing.
Complete the Antibiotics Dose
Your dentist will recommend an antibiotic regimen before or after the surgery in order to combat infections, if any. Make sure to follow the recommended dosage and complete the antibiotics course to prevent infection relapse.
Depending on the severity of the wound and your susceptibility to infections, the dentist may prescribe a seven-to-ten-day antibiotic course. Make sure you stock the antibiotics as per the prescriptions and adhere to the prescription at all times.
Also, the medications prescribed by your dentist may or may not be available in another state. Therefore, it is wise to carry your medications with you when traveling to work or out of town.
Pay Attention to Oral Hygiene
Proper hygiene is critical to prevent oral infections post tooth extraction. Check with your dentist on how you can maintain oral hygiene without causing damage to the surgery site.
Tooth extraction is, by no means, a pleasant experience; yet, by working with your dentist and following the aftercare instructions, you can alleviate the pain, reduce the risk of the associated complications, and promote rapid healing. Use the tips shared in this article to make your post-extraction healing process as comfortable as possible.