What to Do, and Never Do, After a Tooth Extraction

What to Do

  1. Rest
    Try to get as much rest as possible within the first 24 hours after the tooth is pulled out. Keep your head at an elevated position (use a pillow) to reduce blood flow to the sore area. Be sure to stay away from any form of physical activity too.
  2. Let it Clot
    Dentists in Fleet, and elsewhere, put a gauze on the extraction site to not only help absorb any oozing blood but for you to bite down to put pressure on the wound. Biting the gauze down helps reduce/stop bleeding and, at times, promote clotting. It would thus be advisable to keep the gauze on the wound for at least 30 minutes until a clot has formed. The longer you can keep the gauze on, the faster the clot will form. Removing the gauze too early will only make the clotting process slower, leading to persistent bleeding. You could also speed up the clotting process by placing a wet tea bag on the wound. Tea leaves contain tannic acid that helps accelerate the clotting process.
  3. Apply an Ice Pack on the Side of the Extraction
    Applying an ice pack on the operated area helps reduce the swelling. This is particularly important for cheek retractions and if the dentist had to operate to get the root or other tooth pieces out. Some people may not experience the swellings, with others having the same two or three days after the extraction. Do not wait for the swelling, but rather apply the ice pack a few hours to 24 hours after the extraction. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes, let it rest for another 15 minutes before reapplying. Repeat this for 2 hours.

The Don’ts

  1. Do Not Smoke
    Smoking within 48 hours after the tooth is pulled out increases the risk of a dry socket and infections after that. Toxic chemicals from burning tobacco are also known to inhibit the clotting process; another reason you shouldn’t smoke.
  2. Avoid Solid Foods
    As yummy as solid foods may seem, you need to stay away from these and focus on soft foods only. Hard food particles may get stuck on the wound, attracting microbes that could cause it to be septic. Liquid foods such as milkshakes, yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and soups will help you recover faster and pose a minimal risk on the open wound.
  3. Don’t Skip Your Medication
    The dentist will give you painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics that should be taken immediately after the tooth extraction. These drugs are meant to help with the pain and swelling, as well as prevent possible bacterial infection. Continue taking your medication until the socket has healed.
  4. Avoid Aspirin
    Although you might know this, aspirin is a blood thinner, hence could interfere with the clotting process. Only take medication prescribed by the dentist within the first three days. Talk to your dentist if already on other types of medication for advice on the best way forward. Ibuprofen is, however, safe during this period.
  5. Do Not Suck
    Any form of sucking can rapture the clot, hence not recommended at all. Sipping, smoking, vaping, and eating hard foods causes a pressure change in the mouth, thus should be avoided. You might also want to avoid spicy foods, hot drinks, and sodas after tooth extraction.
  6. Don’t Poke the Tooth Gap
    The extraction will leave a gap between other teeth. You might thus be curious and poke it with your tongue or toothpick. Doing so might induce bleeding, dry socket, and introduce bacteria to the wound. Avoid poking the gap at all costs.
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