Table of Content:
- What should I expect following my tooth extraction?
- Do’s and dont’s following tooth extraction.
- What happens if I don’t follow these post-op instructions?
- When is my next appointment?
As with most oral surgery procedures, often times you will experience some pain and swelling. Swelling can be minimized by taking your medication, getting plenty of rest and applying an ice-pack. Place the ice-pack approximately 15 to 20 minutes on-and-off during the first 12 to 24 hours. Using an ice-pack helps keep the swelling down and also reduces the pain level. Also try getting as much rest as possible. Sleep with your head slightly elevated the first night following oral surgery. Finally, be sure to take your medications as prescribed. Starting the next day, you can rinse with warm salt-water (1 tsp salt to 8 oz of water), 4 to 5 times a day. Continue this routine for the next week as your gums continue to heal.
The first two days following your tooth extraction are very important. This time period determines the course of your healing process. If you want to heal quickly and minimize complications, it’s important that you follow the following post-op instructions. Here are some things to watch out for during the first two days:
Apply firm pressure to the extraction site
Place a few guaze on the extraction site and keep applying firm pressure. Remove the gauze every 20 minutes and continue applying fresh gauze. Repeat this process until the bleeding comes to a stop. If this fails, try applying a wet black tea bag to the region. If the bleeding continues for more than 5 hours, or if the bleeding is excessive, then contact your dentist or go to the emergency room. While rare, continuous bleeding is a concern and needs to be addressed right away.
Modify your diet
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids over the next two days. Eat only soft foods and try to avoid chewing on the tooth extraction site as much as possible. Also, avoid foods with small kernels, like nuts or popcorn, as you don’t want them to get stuck in the extraction site. The hole will close up withing the next few days or weeks, so be patient while your body continues to heal itself.
Modify your oral hygiene
You should skip cleaning the surgery site for the first few days. By a week or two after surgery, you should be back to brushing as you normally would. Feel free to begin your normal oral hygiene routine within the bounds of comfort, once you have fully healed.
Don’t play with the extraction site
Leave the extraction site alone. Be careful not to eat while you are still numb to prevent biting your lips, cheeks or tongue.
No rinsing, spitting or drinking through a straw for the first few days. Generally speaking, you want to avoid any kind of suction or blowing for the next 24 hours.
No smoking or any tobacco products for at least 48 hours after tooth extraction. Nicotine is extremely detrimental to the healing process and causes dry socket. Dry socket is slow healing which is very painful and lasts for weeks.
Take your medicine
If you’re given antibiotics and pain medication then be sure to take them as prescribed. It’s best to take your medicine with food to avoid an upset stomach. Take your first dose of medicine as soon as possible so when the anesthetic wears off you’re feeling the effects. Be sure to finish all of your antibiotics and take them as scheduled. It’s also best to take some sort of painkillers for the first few days. Feel free to stop using your painkillers once the pain has gone away.
Remember that the worst discomfort is usually within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic wears off. Take your medication and plan on getting as much rest as possible during this time.
If you don’t follow these instructions there is a chance that you won’t form a proper blood clot. This can lead to severe pain, excessive bleeding and delayed healing process. In the worse scenarios this leads to a dry socket. A dry socket is very painful and takes weeks to resolve itself. Following the post-op instructions is critical to ensuring that you don’t end up with such complications
We usually see our tooth extraction patients within one to two weeks after their surgery. During your post-op appointment, we will remove any sutures and discuss your healing. If your sutures loosen before your appointment, don’t panic. Sutures are only important for the first few days and it’s okay if they loosen before your checkup appointment. So long as there is no signs of infection or severe pain, you simply need to allow time for the area to heal. Be patient, the full healing process could take a few weeks, sometimes even longer. If you have any other questions or want to be seen as an emergency, call us at (949) 481-2540.