Tooth extraction is a small scale surgery which involves the complete removal of an impacted or defected tooth from the mouth. Teeth extractions are carried out by expert dentists. Before carrying the procedure, the adjoining area is numbed by injecting an anesthetic. This is done to make the area pain free and reduce the discomfort of the patient.
In order to remove the tooth, it is first made loose with the help of an instrument called an elevator. Once loose, the tooth is removed using forceps. The removal of the tooth leaves a hole in the bone. This hole is called a socket.
The underlying bones and nerves need protection from bacteria and other infection-causing germs. The body’s natural defense system forms a blood clot in the socket.
If care is not taken, the blood clot can dissolve, making the extraction site open to infections. After the procedure, the extraction site is covered with a gauze. This is done to stop the bleeding and encourage clotting.
Time is crucial in the healing process of tooth extraction. Proper care and time allow blood to clot and socket to heal from the trauma. Listed below are important aftercare tips for tooth extraction:
48 Hours Post Extraction
The first two days post-extraction are the most crucial and require maximum care. Some bleeding can be expected as the blood has not clotted properly and the socket is in the process of healing. Following precautions must be taken during the first two days, post-extraction:
- Avoid unnecessary physical activity. The body needs to rest to focus on healing.
- Avoid the interaction of sockets with water. At least for the first 24 hours, do not rinse your mouth. The forceful swishing can dislodge the clot and affect the healing process. Avoid the urge to gargle as well, difficult as it may be.
- The dentist will place a gauze over the socket to stop the bleeding. Keep it in place for 2- 4 hours after the procedure. After that, change the gauze whenever needed.
- Take round-the-clock, over-the-counter painkillers as prescribed by the doctor. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective in reducing post-extraction pain and swelling.
- Avoid creating pressure inside your mouth. Using a straw, forceful sneezing, and smoking can create pressure in the mouth which can dislodge the blood clot.
- When lying down, keep the head in a raised position to avoid the backward flow of blood to the head. Sleep in a raised position by placing extra pillows underneath your head.
3-10 Days Post Extraction
If the first 48 hours post-extraction pass without any trouble, you can relax and carry on with your day-to-day routine. However, the following precautions must be taken for the socket to heal completely:
- Eat soft, semi-liquid foods. Solid foods require chewing action due to which the mouth has to function in a forceful manner. This can dislodge the delicate blood clot and the socket will bleed again. Solid foods can also get stuck in the empty socket and cause pain and infection. Consume semi-liquid foods like yogurt, milkshake, soup, and custard for 7-10 days post-extraction.
- Maintain oral health with care. It is recommended to avoid brushing and flossing for the first 48 hours post-extraction. After that, you can brush and floss as usual, but be gentle and mindful of any physical contact with the extraction site. Maintaining good oral hygiene will protect the site from getting an infection.
- Rinse mouth with warm saline solution. Saltwater is said to be bactericidal. The heat from the warm solution will also help in healing the socket.
If the above precautions are followed, post-extraction complications can be avoided. If you are looking for tooth extraction services in Everett and Seattle, book an appointment with Icon Dental Center. Their team of dedicated dentists will make sure that you will have a painless and hassle-free tooth extraction experience.