If you’ve just had a simple or surgical tooth extraction, you’ll need to follow your dentist’s advice to ensure it heals correctly and in a timely manner and doesn’t get infected or cause you any unnecessary discomfort. Fortunately, the required aftercare is simple, and you won’t need to prepare anything except an ice pack to ease the swelling and some paracetamol, ibuprofen or an over-the-counter painkiller for the pain. There are several reasons why you may need to have a tooth extraction, with the following among the most common reasons:
- Severely decayed, broken or fractured teeth. Your dentist will always do their best to save your teeth as having natural teeth is far preferable to dental implants. However, sometimes a tooth can’t be saved with a crown or filling and an extraction is required.
- Crowded teeth. When teeth become crowded, they push each other out of alignment and your dentist may need to remove one or more teeth to give the others adequate space. In such situations, the extracted teeth won’t be replaced with dental implants.
- Impacted wisdom teeth. If you have impacted wisdom teeth (which can be painful and uncomfortable), usually the only treatment available is to extract the tooth. This is a surgical extraction in which the dentist cuts into the gum to remove the tooth.
Whatever the reason for the extraction and whether simple or surgical, it’s imperative to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions to bring about a swift and full recovery.
Taking Care of Yourself After an Extraction
To speed up the healing time and minimise discomfort, there are a few things that you can do, including:
- Keep the blood clot in place in the socket to avoid ‘dry socket’. Removing it can be painful and can cause complications that take longer to recover from, so don’t rinse your mouth or drink through a straw for at least 24 hours. This is very important if you have just had a surgical tooth extraction. After 24 hours, rinse with a mild warm salt solution.
- Don’t remove the gauze pad until at least three or four hours have passed and be careful when removing it to avoid dislodging the blood clot.
- Apply ice sparingly. You should apply ice immediately after the procedure but limit each application to no more than ten minutes to avoid tissue damage.
- Avoid hot foods or foods that require a lot of chewing. The best foods to eat after a tooth extraction are soft foods like yoghurt, soup, pudding, jelly and smoothies, but avoid straws and always use a spoon. You should be able to eat normally after about 24 hours, maybe less after a simple tooth extraction.
- Take painkillers when required and always follow the prescription.
- Avoid smoking and vaping.
- Brush your teeth and use mouthwash but avoid the extraction site.
Have a problem tooth that needs professional dental attention? Contact the compassionate and professional dentists at Mango Hill Dental for a consultation on 07 3482 2209 today.