Table of Content:
- What should I expect following tooth extraction surgery?
- Do’s and dont’s following tooth extraction
- What happens if you don’t follow post-op instructions?
- When is your next appointment?
Often times you will experience some pain and swelling after most oral surgery procedures. Be sure to take your medication, get plenty of rest and apply an ice-pack to reduce the swelling. Here are a few things you should do as you recover from your oral surgery procedure:
- Take it easy and get as much rest as possible.
- Place ice-pack 15 to 20 minutes on-and-off during the first 12 to 24 hours. Using an ice-pack keeps the swelling down and reduces pain.
- Sleep with your head slightly elevated following oral surgery.
- Starting the next day, rinse with warm salt-water, 1 teaspoon salt added to 8 oz of water, about 4 to 5 times a day. Continue this routine for the next week as your gums continue to heal.
- Be sure to take your medications as prescribed.
The first two to three days following your tooth extraction are the most uncomfortable ones. However, these are also the most important days in terms of your healing process. It’s important that you follow post-op instructions if you want to heal quickly and minimize complications, Here are some things to watch out for during the first few days:
Apply firm pressure to the extraction site
Right after surgery, place a few guaze on the extraction site and keep applying firm pressure. Remove the gauze every 20 minutes and apply fresh gauze. Repeat this process until the bleeding comes to a stop. If this fails, try applying a wet tea bag to the area. If the bleeding continues for more than 5 hours, or if you’re bleeding profusely, contact your dentist or go to the nearest emergency room. Uncontrollable bleeding is a concern and it needs to be addressed. This is particularly a concern if you are on blood thinners or suffer from very high blood pressure.
Modify your diet
Drink plenty of fluids over the next few days. Eat soft foods and avoid chewing on the tooth extraction site as much as you can. Avoid foods with small kernels, like nuts or popcorn, as you don’t want them to get stuck in the fresh extraction site. As the hole starts to close up in the next few days, you can start chewing on that side again.
Minimize your oral hygiene
It’s okay to skip cleaning the surgery site for the first couple of days. You should get back to your normal brushing routine about a week or so after your surgery (except for complicated wisdom teeth which require two weeks).
Don’t play with it!
Leave the extraction site alone so it heals faster. Playing with it can dislodge the blood clot and postpone your healing process. No rinsing, no spitting, and no drinking through a straw for either. Avoid any kind of suction or blowing for at least 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 because it slows blood flow to the extraction socket. Unfortunately, heavy smokers always have significant pain and discomfort following most tooth extraction surgeries.
Take your medicine
Take your antibiotics and pain medications as prescribed. Take your medicine with food to avoid an upset stomach. We recommend that you take your first dose as soon as possible so you feel the effects by the time your anesthesia wears off. Be sure to finish all of your antibiotics and take them on schedule. You can stop using your painkillers once the pain has gone away.
If you don’t follow these instructions, there’s a good chance that you won’t form a proper blood clot. This leads to what’s known severe pain, excessive bleeding and delayed healing process. In the worse scenarios this leads to a dry socket. A dry socket occurs when there is slow healing of the surgery site. Dry sockets are usually very painful and they last for several weeks before resolving themselves. Following post-op instructions minimizes your chances of ending up with these complications.
Most dentists see you back within one to two weeks after your surgery. During your post-op appointment, they remove any sutures and evaluate your healing process. Don’t panic if your sutures loosen before your appointment. Sutures are only important for the first 3 to 4 days after surgery, and it’s okay if your sutures become loose before your next checkup appointment. So long as there’s no signs of infection or severe pain, you’re doing fine. Be patient, as the full healing process could take several weeks, sometimes longer. If you have any other questions or concerns, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for further instructions.