Tooth Extraction: What to do after surgery

A tooth extraction can be painful. Following post operative care is extremely important.

First, do not disturb the area- for the next few days, and especially the first 24 hours, it is very important to allow your body to form a good clot and start the natural healing process. Swishing, sucking through a straw, and smoking can all dislodge the clot. Keep anything sharp from entering the wound (crunchy food, toothpicks, eating utensils, etc.) Be sure to chew on the opposite side for at least the next 24 hours.Every effort must be made to keep the clot intact to avoid a painful dry socket.

Bleeding: When you leave the office you might be biting on a gauze pad to control the bleeding. Keep slight pressure on the gauze for at least 30 minutes. If it has not stopped after 30 minutes, bite on another gauze or a moistened teabag for another 30 minutes. Continue until bleeding is minimal. You may notice that your saliva is slightly red. This can be caused by a slight amount of bleeding and may persist on the day of the procedure.

Smoking: Do not smoke after an extraction. The suction created with inhaling can dislodge the clot and cause a painful dry socket. Smoking can also slow the healing process.

Pain: Some discomfort is normal after an extraction. If your health history allows for it, take 3 Advil, or any generic product containing ibuprofen. The first dose should be taken before the anesthetic wears off. Continue for 2 days at 4-6 hour intervals or alternate with pain medication, if it was prescribed. Take pills with soft food and plenty of water to avoid nausea.

Swelling: Use ice or frozen peas on the check or lip of the affected area only for the first 24 hours at a rate of 20 minutes on and 20 mintes off.

Brushing: Do not brush your teeth for the first 24 hours after surgery. After that, brush gently, avoiding the area where the tooth was pulled.

Rinsing: Avoid all rinsing and swishing for the first 24 hours. This can cause bleeding, dislodging of the blood clot and a subsequent painful dry socket. After 24 hours, you may gently rinse with salt water solution comprised of ½ teaspoon salt, ½ baking soda and 8 oz warm water. Avoid commercial mouthwashes.

Food: Be sure to chew on the “opposite side” and eat only soft food for at least 2 days. Maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

Activity: On the day of surgery, keep activity to a minimum to control blood pressure, which affects bleeding.

Sinus involvement: If your surgery involved sinus, avoid blowing your nose or playing a wind instrument for one week.

Antibiotics or painkillers: If you were given an antibiotic prescription, take them until directed until gone. Probiotics can relieve some of the side effects of antibiotics such as stomach upset or diarrhea. Yogurt can be helpful. If you are given a prescription for a pain killer, be aware that they can be addictive and minimize their use. Also avoid driving and making important decisions. Women be aware that antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use an alternative for 2 months.

Dry Socket: Dry socket usually occurs 3-4 days after surgery if the clot is dislodged. Call the office and an appointment will be made to apply medication which will quickly relieve the pain.

Follow up appointment – A follow up appointment may be needed to remove stitches or for a healing check. If you experience breathing problems, report to the Emergency Room.

If you have any questions about a tooth extraction, please contact Stummer Dental to make an appointment.

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