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The procedure of removing one or more teeth is known as tooth extraction. There are many reasons why dentists would recommend a tooth extraction. In this article, we will learn why you may have to get your tooth extracted and tips to follow after the extraction. 

Common Reasons for Extracting Teeth 

  • The tooth is badly damaged or decayed 
  • The mouth is overcrowded
  • To prevent infection caused by decay or damage to the tooth pulp 
  • To prevent infection caused by gum diseases
  • Wisdom tooth removal due to lack of space at the back of the mouth 

What Happens After Tooth Extraction?

After the dentist pulls out the tooth, a blood clot is formed in the socket. He will pack a gauze pad to stop the bleeding. You may even need stitches to close the gum edges over the extraction site. 

After the tooth extraction, you will experience some pain, swelling, and minor bleeding. If the swelling is severe, you may have trouble opening your mouth completely.  

In certain conditions, the blood clot may break loose and expose the bone in the socket. This condition is known as a dry socket and can be quite painful. If the dry socket pain lasts for a long time, it’s recommended that you go for a dry socket treatment

10 Tooth Extraction Aftercare Tips

Here are 10 aftercare tips that you must follow after tooth extraction.  

  • Take Your Medication 

Take the prescribed pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication without fail. They reduce the pain and swelling that come with tooth extraction. 

However, if the pain persists or you experience bleeding two days after the extraction, visit your dentist. 

  • Take Ample Rest

Avoid physical activities for at least 24 hours after the extraction, even if you feel well. Try to get some rest after the procedure. 

Do not exercise as it can increase the blood pressure. This, in turn, can make the extraction site bleed.

  • Keep the Head Elevated 

When you lie down, prop your head with pillows. Do not lie flat as it may prolong bleeding. 

  • Let it Clot

You must let the extraction site clot as it will cover the socket and heal. The doctor will give you a gauze pad to bite on the extraction site. You have to leave the gauze for at least 3 to 4 hours after the procedure. If you cannot keep it in place for that long, change the gauze pad every 30 minutes.  

  • Cold Compression

Swelling is common after tooth extraction. Use ice packs as a cold compress to reduce the swelling. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes and then take it off for 15 minutes. Do this for at least an hour or two after the extraction. 

  • Do Not Smoke

If you are a smoker, do not smoke for at least 48 hours after the tooth extraction. The chemicals present in the smoke may affect the clot. This will increase the chance of developing dry socket 3 – 4 days after the extraction, which may include severe dry socket pain. 

  • Avoid Eating Solids 

Do not eat solid food after the extraction. You can start eating solid food after the numbness in your jaw subsides. 

The best foods you can eat after a tooth extraction include:

  • Soups
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Milkshakes and smoothies

Avoid soda, spicy, and hot food. 

  • Don’t Poke the Extraction Gap

It is a natural tendency to poke the new gap with the tongue after the extraction, but avoid doing that. It may start bleeding and also lead to a dry socket. 

  • Rinse with Warm Saline 

Rinse your mouth with warm saline to clean the extraction area since it won’t be possible to brush it. You can make the solution by adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Rinse at least 12 hours after the extraction.  

  • Brush and Floss Regularly

Brush and floss your teeth like you normally do, but avoid brushing the extraction site. Keeping the mouth clean will prevent infection.

These tips will certainly help you recover from tooth extraction, preserve socket and minimize pain to a great extent. Visit the dentist immediately if the bleeding doesn’t stop even 2 hours after the tooth extraction. 

Author Bio: Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he's gained first-hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he's not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.



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