Having a tooth extracted, or hearing that you have to have one taken out can be devastating. A tooth needing to be pulled is never something a person wants to hear let alone go through, but sometimes it can become necessary. One of the top concerns after tooth extraction is done is how to care for them, to ensure proper healing. We will discuss many of the common questions you may have about tooth extraction aftercare, as well as what to expect from the procedure.

Why Would You Need An Extraction?

There are numerous reasons a dentist may indicate a patient would need tooth extractions — one of the most common being wisdom teeth. Most people are born with an extra set of molars that protrude in the late teens. These can be very painful, along with damaging to surrounding teeth causing premature decay. Wisdom teeth can also cause alignment issues, because a person mouth may not be able to accommodate the extra teeth.

In instances where severe decay has occurred, it may be in the best interest of the surrounding teeth for one to be pulled. Your dentist will make the determination and consult with you before performing extraction treatments. When the extraction is completed, your dentist will use special tools to pull the tooth out. In some cases, there may need to be surgery to extract the tooth, if breakage occurs or your dentist is unable to remove the tooth.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

Immediately following the procedure, you may feel a slight tenderness. However, because your dentist administered a local anesthetic, the discomfort shouldn’t be too severe. Most dentists recommend that you take the rest of the day off to recoup. You may find that it is difficult to eat, drink, or talk. Your dentist will recommend that you don’t eat or drink anything hot until after the anesthetic wears off. For people who smoke, it is advised not to do so, but at a bare minimum wait until the following day.

Tooth Extraction Care: When Can I Brush My Teeth?

It is extremely important to keep your mouth clean following an extraction. But you will want to be careful around the site of the pulled tooth. Be gentle and take your time. Do not use a mouth rinse for the first 24 hours. The socket needs to heal, and the use of mouthwash can affect blood clotting.

What To Do After A Tooth Extraction?

There may be some bleeding from the socket. If you rest, make sure to prop your head with a pillow. A tip many dentists will give is to use an old pillowcase. Every person is different when it comes to the amount that the site will bleed. Some may experience only a little while others quite a bit. You should also avoid alcohol during recuperation to prevent problems with clotting and slowed healing.

Tips For Care After Tooth Extraction

Having a tooth removed can seem frightening, there will be a little blood, and to some, it may seem like a lot. Don’t panic. Often what patients perceive as “a large amount” of blood is actually the blood mixing with the saliva, making it appear worse than it actually is. However, if after 24 hours you see a constant flow of blood you should notify your dentist. After 24-hours you can rinse your mouth with salt water. A salt water rinse can help the socket heal, and promote a cleaner area. A saltwater mouthwash consists of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. You will want to swish the solution around the socket twice daily. Many dentists recommend doing this for up to a week following tooth extraction.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare: What Do I Do About Pain?

Questions about levels of discomfort or fear that after the extraction will be painful is common. Obviously, having a tooth pulled won’t feel the greatest, but the good news is the pain will be manageable. In fact, most dentists will recommend using an over the counter pain reliever. Avoid the use of aspirin during recuperation, as this can cause the socket to bleed. If over the counter products like Tylenol aren’t helping, consult with your dentist.

For some people, with proper care, the socket heals just fine and can return to regular activity after a week. However, the condition known as dry socket is something to look out for. Dry socket occurs when a patient has an infection in the open cavity. It can be excruciating, and in some cases worse than an initial toothache. A dry socket is caused by having little to no blood clotting occurring in the socket, and the walls become inflamed and infected. If you suspect this is the problem, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. He or she will place dressing in the extraction site and prescribe an antibiotic to help fight off the infection. It can be somewhat scary dealing with a dry socket, but they are common, and your dentist can help. He or she may also recommend the use of a pain relievers or could prescribe something stronger, depending on the patients level of discomfort.

Recap of Tooth Extraction Care

Caring for your extraction site and mouth after the procedure has been done is essential to proper healing. Your dentist will likely give you a take-home care guide to better help you with the healing process. But here are a few things you should keep in mind to assist with managing pain, caring for the site, and healing properly for care after tooth extraction.

-Avoid hot food and drinks until the anesthetic wears off
-Brushing is encouraged to keep the mouth clean, being careful of the extraction site
-Avoid smoking; if you can’t stop smoking wait until the following day
-Use an older pillowcase following the procedure in case of bleeding
-For pain relief after the extraction use an over the counter product, following manufacturers instructions
-Try not to worry about the bleeding, more than likely it looks worse than it is.
-After 24-hours use, a salt water mouth rinse to aid with healing of the socket
-See your dentist if the pain from the extraction site is worse, it may be infected.