The healing process begins immediately after a tooth is extracted, as the body sends blood to nourish the tooth socket. The blood clot soon stabilizes, and acts as a framework for the later growth of new bone and new gum tissue in the area of the extraction. As the normal inflammatory process continues, some soreness and swelling can be expected.
- Apply direct pressure to the site, by firmly biting on a folded gauze pad, as a way of controlling the initial bleeding. Change the gauze every 45 minutes until the bleeding stops. If after several hours, the bleeding persists, apply further pressure to the socket by biting on a moistened tea bag. This “old fashioned remedy” really does work.
- Apply ice packs to your face on the side of the extraction to help control swelling. This can be effective for the first 24 – 36 hours.
- A soft diet for the first few days after extraction will help to minimize irritation to the site. Also, drink plenty of fluids for the first few days.
- Take pain reducing medication as needed. This may be over-the-counter medicine or a specific prescription, depending on your situation. Also, if you are given a prescription for an antibiotic, be sure to take it as directed, for the full number of days prescribed.
- Warm salt water rinses, 4 – 5 times a day, starting 24 hours after the extraction, will help to keep the area clean and reduce the soreness.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after an extraction. Smoking will interfere with early healing, cause persistent bleeding, and can cause infection and other problems.
- Do not rinse or spit for the first 24 hours. You do not want to dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not chew anything hard or crunchy in the area for 6 – 8 weeks. Things like popcorn kernels and hard food debris can easily “get stuck” in the socket.
- Do not brush your teeth in the immediate area of the extraction for the first 24 hours. Then, be a little gentle for the first few days to avoid trauma to the area. Of course, it’s very important to brush and floss normally everywhere else, and keep your mouth as clean as possible.
Any questions, concerns, or problems? Please call our office as soon as possible!