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Post-Tooth Extraction Dos and Don’ts

Post-Extraction Dos:

Experts at The Dental Practice advise that a priority following any tooth extraction should be getting sufficient rest. While you may not feel any effects immediately after your procedure, it is best to avoid excessive activity or exertion for at least a day. Maintain your head in a slightly propped position on your pillow as you relax. It is also important to let a blood clot form at the site of your extraction, as this will facilitate healing. When your procedure is completed, the dentist will provide some gauze for you to bite on at the site of the extraction. Bite the gauze and allow it to stay in place for 60 minutes or more, if possible. This is a great way to apply pressure to the wound site and help the bleeding abate. Be careful not to chew on the gauze, however. If you can maintain the gauze in place even longer than an hour, that is ideal, but take care to change out the gauze pieces every 30 minutes or so, based on the volume of bleeding you are experiencing. After the clot forms, if it somehow dislodges, there will be exposed nerve endings, and this can slow the healing process. Should the bleeding continue for more than a few hours post-procedure, consider placing a damp tea bag at the extraction site. The tannic acids in black tea are known to help clots form. Ice compresses can be a great way to reduce swelling when placed along the portion of the face near the extraction. Though more basic extraction work is not likely to produce significant swelling, patients who need major cheek retraction may suffer this side effect. Swelling of this sort may not present itself right away but may increase over a few days, with the worst of it coming by day 2 or 3 after the procedure. Ice pack usage is most helpful on extraction day, and it will not provide substantial benefits once 24 hours have passed. The best way to use ice is to apply it for 15 minutes at a time, with 15-minute breaks in between applications, doing so for 1-2 hour periods.

Post-Extraction Don'ts:

Following a tooth extraction, it is important to avoid smoking for no less than two days after the procedure. The distinct chemical compounds in cigarette smoke can have a negative effect on blood clotting, and as such, the potential for dry socket in the days following the extraction grows. Steer clear of solid foods immediately following the procedure. It is best to avoid solid food while you are still experiencing numbness from the extraction. Once your jaws begin to regain sensation, you may resume eating solids. In the time directly following your procedure, stick to liquids and soft food items such as yoghurt, soup, and smoothies. Make sure to take all medications prescribed by your dental practitioner, and do not skip doses. If you have received antibiotics, they need to be taken on schedule. Anti-inflammatories and pain medications ought to be used post-procedure to manage swelling and pain. If you are still experiencing pain two days after the extraction and there continues to be bleeding, the dentist should be contacted. Do not take aspirin to address extraction pain. Ibuprofen may be used, but aspirin has blood-thinning qualities that can interfere with the clotting process necessary for healing. Use only the medications suggested by the dentist, and ask about possible interactions if you are considering using anything else. Try not to do anything that requires sucking, whether on foods, candies, or even cigarettes. Stick with easily consumed products such as mashed potatoes and milkshakes and avoid spicy food, hot beverages, and soda. Never poke into the gap resulting from the extraction. While you will surely feel a strange sensation having a gap in your mouth, resist the temptation to prod it with anything, including your own tongue, because this can hinder healing, prompt additional bleeding, or cause dry socket to emerge