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How to Care for Your Mouth After Undergoing a Tooth Extraction

How to Care for Your Mouth After Undergoing a Tooth Extraction

Proper care after tooth extraction will have your mouth feeling better, faster. Here at Family Dental Care, our dentists will support you before and after your procedure. Whether you're having wisdom teeth removed, having a decaying tooth pulled, or preparing for orthodontia, our West Palm Beach, Florida clinic is behind you all the way.

However, home care also makes a big difference when you’re healing from an extraction. Here are some of the things you can do to support your healing mouth, as well as some signs of common complications to watch out for.

Right After Surgery

Your doctor will place a gauze pad over the surgical area. Maintain pressure on the area by gently biting down on the gauze. Try to maintain continuous pressure for at least 45 minutes to an hour at a time.

Your saliva might have a pinkish tinge for the first 36 hours. If the area gets too dry, dampen the sponge with water. You can change the gauze dressing as needed until the bleeding slows down. Bring any excessive bleeding under control by re-applying gauze and pressure.

Numbness around the mouth can last for as long as 10-12 hours post-surgery. Be careful not bite your tongue or cheek when eating or drinking, and stick to soft foods or fluids.

The Next Day After Surgery

Lower your activity levels and let your body rest after the extraction. Keep your head elevated to lessen the bleeding. Bleeding should decrease after 48 hours.

Use an externally-placed ice pack on your face or neck to reduce swelling and numb the pain for the first 36 hours, then switch to applying moist heat instead. Avoid the area of the extraction site when brushing your teeth for the first day after surgery.

After 48 Hours

To clean your mouth, rinse with warm salt water as often as every few hours. The saltwater also reduces infection risk and can feel soothing.

After two days, it's okay to brush around the surgical site as usual, but be careful not to touch any sutures. Floss, but don't use mouthwashes that contain alcohol, which might irritate your healing mouth.

You may receive instructions to flush the extraction site with salt water or a prescription fluid to keep the area clear of debris and promote healing. Your doctor may give you a plastic syringe with a curved tip to use for targeted rinses.

During the First Week

Continue taking all medications as prescribed. Chose softer foods and eat plenty of protein. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, but don't drink through a straw for 5-7 days after your tooth extraction. Avoid smoking tobacco for 3-4 days after the extraction to lessen risks of infection and dry socket.

In Two Weeks

Swelling should be almost gone within ten days. The empty socket at the extraction site will begin to fill in with bone and other tissues. This will continue over time until the hole is completely filled and smooth.

If you have any dead tooth fragments, also called bone sequestra, remaining at the site, these will work themselves up through the gums naturally during the healing process. These fragments are often sharp and can cause pain. If you continue to have sharp pain or observe any fragments, contact our practice to schedule a check-up.

Severe, throbbing pain after undergoing a tooth extraction can also be a symptom of dry socket, a condition that occurs in 3-4% of extractions. Dry socket involves a dislodging of the blood clot from the extraction site before healing is complete, leaving bone exposed and painful. Pain typically radiates up toward the ear.

Dry socket is not an infection, but it does need treatment. If you think you might have a dry socket, contact us right away. We may also need to take X-rays to rule out any other causes.

If you have any concerns during your healing process, don’t hesitate to call our office or book an appointment online.

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