Post-Extraction Tips: What Your Dentist Wants You To Know

Tooth extraction is a dental procedure that most adults have to undergo at some stage and for various reasons. If you're preparing to have a tooth extracted for the first time, you may not know what to expect of the recovery period. For those who are new to this procedure, there are some things that you should know about the stages of recovery and what you can do to ease the process. Here is a look at some of the basics to help you through your extraction recovery.

First Day Basics

The first day following your tooth extraction is often the most challenging. You'll need to be attentive to bleeding, clotting, and pain management. Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics as well as a pain reliever. Make sure that you take those medications as prescribed to help manage your discomfort and prevent infection.

Your dentist will pack gauze in the extraction site after the procedure. This gauze is used to help manage the bleeding and encourage clotting. Follow your dentist's recommendation regarding how long to leave the gauze in place, and change it when needed with fresh material.

You may also want to use an ice pack to help manage any swelling in the area. In most cases, swelling is at its worst during the initial 24 hours after the procedure.

Day Two Fundamentals

By the second day, the blood clot has fully formed in the extraction site and your gums are beginning to heal. You can typically start using a saltwater rinse twice a day at this stage, but take care not to dislodge the clot over the extraction site. Avoid smoking and drinking from straws for the next week, because both can create suction in your mouth, which may dislodge the blood clot.

Week One Considerations

Your extraction site will continue healing for a week to ten days following the procedure. During that time, you need to be careful not to dislodge the blood clot, because that can cause a condition called dry socket. It's often painful and will need a dentist's treatment to address.

Rinse your mouth periodically with salt water or an antibacterial rinse. Be cautious when brushing your teeth to avoid the extraction site, and don't chew in that area either. If your dentist has recommended a one-week follow-up appointment, make sure that you attend that as well.

For more tips to ensure proper healing after a tooth extraction, talk with your dentist before the procedure. They can give you more guidance.