Tooth Extraction

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.

Anesthetics

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).

Bleeding

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:

  • Fold a piece of clean gauze into a pad thick enough to bite on. Dampen the pad and place it directly on the extraction site.
  • Apply moderate pressure by closing the teeth firmly over the pad. Maintain this pressure for about 30 minutes. If the pad becomes soaked with blood, replace it with a clean one as necessary.
  • Do not suck on the extraction site.
  • A slight amount of blood may leak at the extraction site until a clot forms. However, if heavy bleeding continues, please call us. (Remember: a lot of saliva and a little blood can look like a lot of bleeding.)

When To Call Us

Call us immediately if you have:

  • prolonged or severe pain
  • swelling
  • bleeding
  • fever

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.

  • Do not smoke, rinse your mouth, spit, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities create suction in the mouth, which could dislodge the clot and delay healing.
  • Do not clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket for the rest of the day. You should, however, brush and floss your other teeth thoroughly. Gently rinse your mouth afterward.
  • Rest for the remainder of the day of surgery, you may follow normal activity the following day. Avoid excessive exertion of any type for a few days after the surgery. This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form.
  • If you have sutures that require removal, your dentist will instruct you when to return.

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.

Medication

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.

Diet

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.

Rinsing

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.

Oral Hygiene

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.