Research & Education
Tooth extraction is surgery. There will be temporary changes in your mouth afterward. While you heal, you should follow a few simple rules to help promote healing, prevent complications and make yourself more comfortable.
The length of time you experience numbness varies depending on the type of anesthetic you’ve received. While your mouth is numb, you’ll want to be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue. (Do not bite your lip to test if it is numb, you could bite through your lip.) The numbness should subside within a few hours. If it does not, contact us at 845-5970 (during office hours) and 845-2300 (after hours).
Your dentist will place a gauze pack on the extraction site to limit bleeding and confine the blood while clotting takes place. Bite down on the gauze for at least 1 hour, to control bleeding. Do not chew on the pack.
There may be some bleeding or oozing after the pack is removed. If so follow this procedure:
When To Call Us
Call us immediately if you have:
We will give you exact instructions on how to care for your problem.
The Blood Clot
After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket. This clot is an important part of the normal healing process. You should therefore avoid activities that might disturb the clot. Protect the clot with these simple steps.
Occasionally, a dry socket occurs when the blood clot breaks down earlier than normal. A dressing may be placed in the socket to protect it until the socket heals.
Take any prescribed medication as directed. If the medication does not seem to work for you, call us, do not increase the dosage.
Do not take aspirin unless prescribed by another doctor for a medical condition (Be sure he knows you are having a tooth removed). If you presently take an aspirin a day, you can expect more bleeding.
Swelling and Pain
After a tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling. You can help reduce swelling by using icepacks 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off in the area of the surgery. This will do more for you than any pain medications because it keeps the swelling down.
After the extraction, drink lots of liquids and eat soft, nutritious foods. Avoid alcoholic beverages and hot liquids. Begin eating solid foods the next day or as soon as you can chew comfortably.
Do not eat anything you have to chew or anything extremely hot, cold, spicy or crunchy. For about two days, try to chew food on the side opposite the extraction site. If you have trouble with nausea or vomiting, call your dentist for advice.
Do not rinse the day of the extraction. The next day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt in an 8 ox glass of warm water). Rinsing after meals is important to keep food particles out of the extraction site, but remember not to rinse your mouth vigorously. Avoid using a mouth rinse or mouthwash during this early healing period.
It is important to continue to brush thoroughly twice a day using an ADA- accepted fluoride toothpaste, and floss or clean in between your teeth with interdental cleaners every day.
The tongue should also be brushed. This will help eliminate the bad breath and unpleasant taste that is common after an extraction. Always use a soft-bristled brush so that you do not injure the tissues in your mouth. Following an extraction, avoid cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket.