A tooth may need to be extracted for a number of reasons.
These can range from damage or decay to your mouth simply not having enough room to house the tooth. If your tooth needs to be extracted, you may be curious as to what your recovery may look like.
Before the procedure
Before your procedure, it is advisable to have something to eat and drink. This is because we want your blood sugar levels to remain normal, and for you to be adequately hydrated both during and after the procedure, plus eating and drinking immediately after the procedure will need to be somewhat curtailed.
After the procedure
After your procedure, you may feel a little groggy. This in not totally unexpected on our behalf, and we will only let you go once we are certain you are “back to normal” again.
Sometimes, tooth extraction is done under conscious sedation. This will mean that your will be sedated yet awake during the procedure. You may not remember much about your procedure if you had been sedated, and if you had fallen asleep, you will be gently, yet easily awoken. You will need someone to take you home after your procedure and your mouth will feel numb for a while immediately afterwards.
It is important to remember not to drink any warm (not hot) beverages until you have fully regained normal sensation in your mouth. You should stick to soft foods immediately after your procedure, such as yoghurt or soup for the first day or so.
Recovery after a tooth extraction may take a few days. Fortunately, gums heal fairly quickly! These tips will help you manage your recovery and ensure that it goes smoothly. Following these tips will also help you avoid any complications.
- Your dentist will likely have suggested you should take some painkillers, and may have prescribed some for you. Take these as instructed.
- Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. You should leave the pad in place for about an hour after the extraction; it is the pressure on this pack which starts the clotting process. If you are concerned, use one of the additional packs supplied to you, or a rolled up clean handkerchief.
- You may experience some swelling; applying an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure will help to reduce this. The ice should be applied for approximately 10 minutes at a time.
- Relax! Take it easy for the next few days, especially on the day of extraction, and limit your physical activity.
- To avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket, you should avoid forcefully rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction.
- After 24 hours, gently rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water. This will help keep the extraction site clean.
- No smoking! smoking inhibits your healing.
- You should opt for soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or oatmeal the day after the extraction. You can gradually reintroduce solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
- When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding. So, make sure that your head is elevated when you go to sleep.
- You should keep up with your oral hygiene routine, even after your extraction. Continue to brush and floss your teeth as usual, but take care to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.
After your tooth has been extracted, a blood clot will form over the extraction site. This can feel a bit bothersome, but resist the temptation to dislodge or tamper with the clot! The blood clot that forms in the extraction socket is very important for the healing process. Without the clot you could risk suffering from what is known as a dry socket, whereby the empty tooth socket loses its protective scab and the bone become exposed. This can be extremely uncomfortable and will require medical attention.
If you need to have a tooth extracted, your dentist will explain how the procedure will work and give you comprehensive guidelines on how to manage your recovery. If you have any questions or concerns, direct them towards your dentist.