Tooth Extraction: Recovery and Care
Sometimes pulling a tooth is the only option. Disease, decay, or trauma can necessitate an extraction. At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Peoria, Arizona, we specialize in gentle dentistry. We do everything we can to make tooth extractions as painless and easy for our patients as possible. Tooth extraction aftercare is crucial to your recovery. Once you leave the office, it is essential that you follow our instructions for tooth extraction after care.
Like all surgical procedures, a tooth extraction requires recovery time and specific care. The 24 hours following an extraction are the most critical when it comes to recovery. After a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms inside the cavity in your gums. The blood clot protects your bone and nerves during the healing process. Preserving the blood clot is the most important part of tooth extraction aftercare. Follow our recommendations below for the best results.
Tooth Extraction Aftercare
- Immediately following a tooth extraction, try to rest as much as possible. Take the day off if you can. Limit physical exertion for at least 24 hours.
- Don’t eat or drink anything until the anesthetic wears off. Hot and cold beverages could irritate the extraction site, and food particles might become lodged in the empty socket, causing infection. Wait until the next day, or until you can chew comfortably to eat solid food. Avoid alcohol, as it thins the blood and might prevent clotting.
- Do not smoke or drink through a straw for at least 24 hours following a tooth extraction. Suction in the mouth could loosen or dislodge the blood clot from the extraction site, causing complications.
- Wait to brush your teeth until the next day. After the first 24 hours, brush gently and carefully around the extraction site.
- If you experience bleeding, do not rinse your mouth—apply pressure instead. Use a clean piece of folded cotton or gauze and light pressure to staunch the bleeding.
- Resist rinsing your mouth for a day or two following the extraction. After that period, a salt water rinse can help with the healing process. Dilute 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of lukewarm water, then swish and spit.
- Use ibuprofen and ice packs to reduce swelling and pain. Do not take aspirin—aspirin is a mild blood thinner and could cause further bleeding. If ibuprofen is not sufficient to quell the pain, call us right away, as you may be experiencing complications.
Severe pain following a tooth extraction might indicate an emergency dental condition known as dry socket. In this case, either the blood clot did not develop, or it was dislodged. Exposure of the nerves and bone is intensely painful, especially if the wound becomes inflamed. Dry socket is more common after a difficult extraction, such as an impacted wisdom tooth.
The main symptom of dry socket is severe pain—particularly pain that shoots from the tooth socket to your temple, ear, eye, or neck. Other symptoms include partial or total loss of the blood clot, visible bone, bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Symptoms usually begin one to three days following an extraction. If you have symptoms of dry socket, call us right away. We always try to see emergency patients the same day you call.
If you have questions about tooth extractions or tooth extraction aftercare, contact Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Peoria. Our friendly dentists, Dr. Timothy Mettler, Dr. Victoria Griego, and Dr. Andrew Mikhail are committed to providing you and your family with the highest level of dental care. We welcome you to contact us today to learn more about our dental services and to schedule your visit with our talented and caring dentists. We look forward to giving you a reason to smile!