After tooth extraction, there are a few things that you should be doing to ensure the health of your mouth. Dos and don’ts after a tooth extraction is an important topic for many people because it can help prevent complications during and after the procedure. These tips will help keep your mouth healthy post-extraction!
Tooth extraction is a dental procedure that aims to remove a single tooth or number of teeth from its tooth socket. The dentist will determine whether the procedure is through surgical extraction or simple extraction. For complex extractions, you may be referred to an oral surgeon or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
While tooth extraction is generally known as “having a tooth pulled,” it is a combination of rocking and pulling, known as luxation. The action gradually loosens the space in the bone where the tooth is placed and breaks the small fibres that attach the tooth to the bone.
There are many reasons why teeth may need to be extracted. It could be due to an impacted wisdom tooth that is damaging the neighbouring healthy teeth. Sometimes, extensive tooth decay, in which extraction is the only alternative. In cases of overcrowding, dental professionals may perform tooth removal to provide more space in the mouth and allow for a healthy smile.
In some cases, your dentist may advise you that dental extraction is not necessary. However, delaying treatment may lead to further complications in the future, such as oral diseases, biting problems, jaw problems, and shifting teeth.
What to Do After a Tooth Extraction?
Your dentist or surgeon will provide you with post-operative instructions. It is necessary to avoid complications to the extraction site and help yourself to a speedy recovery.
Here’s the DOs after tooth extraction:
Take a rest.
Resting your body is one of the essential parts of your recovery period. Allowing your body to rest will help you to recover. Try to get some rest, especially within the first twenty-four hours following the procedure. Avoid any strenuous physical activity that may cause the blood clot to dislodge.Lie on your pillow with your head in a slightly upright position when you are sleeping.
Opt for soft food.
Eat nutritious and soft foods to help speed up your healing process. You can eat soft fruits like avocado, mashed or blended bananas, applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and blended soup. You can ask your dentist about the best diet during the recovery period.
Protect the extraction site.
Once the tooth has been extracted, the dentist or oral surgeon will ask you to bite down on a piece of gauze for thirty minutes to an hour after the procedure. This is done to ensure that the extraction area forms a blood clot. This is normal and a critical part of the process of proper healing. The blood clot must be allowed to form because it serves as a barrier protecting the site.
If it is damaged or dissolves to form, the bone and nerves can become exposed to air, food, or fluids, allowing infection to develop. Follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions carefully to avoid infecting the extraction site.
Once the blood clot has formed, staying hydrated is essential for any recovery process, so drink plenty of water. Avoid swishing it around in your mouth too much, and avoid drinking it using a straw—any sucking action will disrupt the freshly formed blood clot.
You can also make a light saline solution after tooth extraction by combining a little water and salt. It can then be moved over the area gently, but without spitting.Allow any excess water to naturally drain from your mouth into the sink.’
Alleviate the pain and swelling.
Take any prescription pain medications according to your dentist’s instructions. Swelling is normal after tooth removal. Apply an ice pack on your face for about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Swelling is rare during simple tooth extractions. Swelling may occur in patients who undergo a more complex procedure when they undergo an extraction. This is very normal and typically occurs during the first twenty-four hours after the surgery and continues until the second or third day. If your tooth extraction appears to be anything but simple, your dentist will almost certainly recommend that you apply an ice pack to minimise any swelling that occurs.
Practise proper oral hygiene.
After twenty-four hours, you may resume normal brushing and flossing, but avoid the area surrounding the extracted tooth until it has completely healed. Instead, gently rinse with warm salt water once you’ve determined that a blood clot has formed to prevent the risk of infection.
What Not to Do After a Tooth Extraction?
Your priority is to keep the extraction safe from infection and to damage the blood clot formation.
Here are the DONTs after tooth extraction:
Avoid drinking with a straw.
Suction and the excessive pressure with which the beverage enters the mouth might dislodge the clot on the wound, resulting in a dry socket.
Do not spit.
The pressure from spitting out may dislodge your blood clot.
It may seem impossible, but smoking is known to slow down the healing period of the surgical site. Discuss your alternatives or tips with your dentist about how to stop smoking.
It might be tempting, but avoid rinsing your mouth for twenty hours following the tooth extraction, and spit only gently once you are allowed to mouthrinse.
Avoid eating hard or solid foods.
Avoid chewy, crunchy, or spicy foods for at least the first twenty-four hours after tooth extraction, as well as grains and seeds, as they can irritate the area of extraction. Rather than that, consider soft foods such as blended soups, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, applesauce, fish, and yogurt, but avoid extremes of temperature, such as anything excessively hot or cold.
Avoid poking the extraction site.
While having a tooth extracted may feel unusual at first, it is important not to touch it with your tongue, finger, tissue, or toothpick. It has the potential to dissolve any blood clot that has formed, cause more bleeding, and result in a dry socket.
Possible Complications During a Tooth Extraction
Complications during tooth extraction are very unusual. Yet, it can be helpful to be aware of them. It allows patients to give consent before the procedure and ensure that they fully understand the process and the possible risks of the treatment.
Unremoved parts of the tooth and the root.
Some parts of the tooth and root were not removed, which can potentially cause future problems. An exposed root can cause gum or tooth injury. A tooth root exposed by the gums can cause sensitivity and pain. Infection and other problems may occur if left untreated.
Rarely, tooth extraction may result in injury to the nerve that supports the tooth. As a result, the area may feel permanently numb or tingling. Although this is an uncommon problem, it does occur in some patients.
The procedure failed to extract the tooth.
If the damaged tooth was not removed during the procedure, it would increase the risk of infection and cause serious oral health complications.
The wrong tooth was extracted.
You are exposed to anaesthesia when your dentist pulls the wrong tooth. Also, undergoing surgery a second time may cause more pain, discomfort, and anxiety.
Possible Complications After Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions are a common dental procedure without serious complications. But, like any other medical procedure, there are risks to look out for.
Following surgery, a certain amount of bleeding is expected. It is not uncommon for minor bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva to occur.
Localised postextraction bleeding might result from soft tissue or bone bleeding. Soft tissue bleeding can occur due to trauma from extraction, resulting in blood vessel injury (arterial, venous or capillary). The nutrient canals or the central vessels can both cause bone or osseous bleeding.
Swelling and inflammation
Swelling is expected following a tooth extraction. It is a normal body response and part of natural healing. A simple tooth extraction will cause minor swelling, whereas a complex tooth extraction such as impacted wisdom tooth removal or extraction of multiple teeth may cause significant swelling.
Typically, a patient may experience swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face. The swelling will not be noticeable until the day after surgery.
If the swelling or inflammation at the extraction site persists with intense pain, it may be helpful to contact your dentist. There is a risk of infection in some cases, and the symptoms include a high temperature, a yellow or white discharge from the extraction site, and persistent pain and swelling.
Alveolar osteitis (dry socket)
A blood clot forms, typically in the area of tooth extraction. This blood clot acts as a shield for the underlying bone and nerves in the empty tooth socket. The clot also serves as a foundation for forming new bone and soft tissue over the clot.
A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is a painful dental problem after a permanent adult tooth is extracted. A dry socket happens when a blood clot at the tooth extraction site fails to form or when it dislodges or dissolves before the lesion has healed.
When the underlying bone and nerves are exposed, it causes intense pain in the socket and along the nerves extending to the side of your face. The socket becomes inflamed and may become clogged with food debris, aggravating the pain. The pain usually starts one to three days after your tooth is extracted when you have a dry socket.
Once the numbing agent (anaesthesia) has subsided, you will feel pain, especially in the extracted tooth area.
Pain from complex procedures may last longer and must be managed with analgesics regularly. If the discomfort persists or worsens, the patient should contact the dentist to examine a pathologic condition.
FAQs About Tooth Extractions
Patients pay less for dental insurance-covered tooth extractions. The majority of medically required extractions will be covered. The cost is determined by your insurance plan and the cost of the extraction.
Several factors identify the cost of tooth extraction. According to the Australian Dental Association, the average cost of simple extraction in Victoria, Australia, may range from $187.69 to $300. Surgical removal, such as wisdom tooth removal, can cost between $284.67 to $2,300.
You can arrange a payment plan if you don’t have insurance coverage, but you’ll need to pay the whole amount out of pocket. It is always necessary to administer a local anaesthetic (numbing medication) during the extraction. The procedure may also require general anesthesia. Separate charges apply for this medication.
How to manage pain after tooth extraction?
The numbness caused by the local anesthetic should only persist a few hours after the extraction. If the numbness persists, consult your dentist.
Following an extraction, you might experience some pain and discomfort. Take any prescription pain medications according to your dentist’s instructions. These medications can help you recover without causing pain, but they do have some risks. Before taking prescribed pain medication, discuss the risks and benefits with your dentist.
What to do before tooth extraction?
Before the day of the tooth extraction, the dentist will refer you to take a dental x-ray. The purpose is to have a clear view of the tooth structure, jaw, and mouth.
Make sure to inform the staff or the dentist about any medications you are currently taking, as well as vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medications, and your health condition.
Inform your dentist if you are about to have treatment for another medical condition requiring the intravenous bisphosphonate injection. If this is the case, the extraction should be performed prior to initiating the drug treatment, or your jaw may develop osteonecrosis, also known as bone death.
To guarantee effective treatment on the day of the tooth extraction, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Avoid smoking prior to the procedure.
- Inform your dentist if you have a cold (you may need to reschedule your appointment if so).
- Inform your dentist if you experienced nausea or vomiting the night before, as this may need a new type of anaesthetic or a rescheduled procedure.
- If you are undergoing general anesthesia, you should have someone accompany you home.